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Power to the People

Power to the People is our campaign to achieve the electricity-related key results of the Strategic Objective on emissions reduction, by putting citizens and communities at the heart of transition to 100% renewable power.

We need to get off fossil fuels fast.  Ireland has excellent renewable energy resources, but our energy system uses fossil fuels for about 80% of its energy needs in transport, heating and electricity. 

At Friends of the Earth we are working to make sure that Ireland’s energy system is fit for the future, with no more investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, no more exploration for fossil fuels and an energy system that values and supports citizens and communities participating in and benefiting from our renewable energy transition. 

 

Logo PortraitWe have teamed up with energy co-operatives around Ireland, and Community Power, Ireland’s first community owned electricity supplier to build Ireland’s first community based virtual power plant. And today, you can support too if by switching your electricity to Community Power.  We switched the Friends of the Earth office so that we are buying our electricity from community owned hydro and wind power, and we are saving money too!  

 

Click here to switch to Community Power!

We love Solar Power! It's clean, free and zero carbon, but in Ireland we have hardly any of it.

And the reason why has nothing to do with how much sun we get! It's because Ireland has unique rules that are designed to make installing solar panels REALLY hard. It is particularly hard for schools.

One of these rules is planning permission.  Schools need planning permission to install even one solar panel.  It's madness, and adds significant cost. 

For years politicians have promised to change this.  They even leaked a story to the papers in August 2020, that they had done it! But they haven't. 

Today, the change is in the hands of Minister Peter Burke. 

Please use our e-action to email your TD's today, and ask them to put pressure on Minister Burke and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to make good on the promise of many before him, for the Love of Solar

For the Love of Solar

Click here to use our e-action to email your TDs

 

We are working hard to put solar panels on schools! With our ‘For the Love of Solar’ solar schools project, we have sourced funding to install solar panels on schools. Our schools competition asked schools to come up with local projects on climate action, and the winners will get solar panels for their school roof!

We're also engaging the public through workshops, street stalls, webinars, training sessions and much more. Join our mailing list for updates on this campaign and ways to take action.

Update on Power to the People

Issued in the blog on November 05, 2021 at 08:52:00.

Tug of War - Activists outside Leinster House illustrate the
Activists outside Leinster House illustrate the "tug-of-war" between fossil fuels and renewables for the future of Irish energy policy

The energy of the future must be renewable but it should also be community owned! Our Power to the People campaign is focused on making it possible for communities, schools and grassroots organisations to own, generate, use and sell their own electricity.

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Expert report gives Government a C+ for delivery of their climate and environment commitments

Issued in news on September 13, 2021 at 07:32:00.

Marks out of ten dials

Significant groundwork achieved but current pace too slow to meet Government's own targets

The Government has been a awarded a C+ in independent expert assessment of progress on the climate and environment commitments in the Programme for Government. The Report Card 2021, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, was carried out by a three person academic panel who marked the Government out of 10 in nine subject areas from climate to water to transport to air quality. The scores ranged from 8.5 for waste and 7.5 for climate to 4.5 for nature and biodiversity and 4 for agriculture and forestry. The panel's overall verdict was that "While significant groundwork has been achieved in a number of areas within the first year, the pace of progress is currently too slow to achieve the Government's targets relating to their environmental and climate commitments."

Report Card 2021
Download the Report Card here.

Chair of the assessment panel, Dr Cara Augustenborg, Environmental Policy Fellow at University College Dublin, said:

"While many of the Government's commitments are not yet visible in our everyday lives, environmental issues have clearly moved up the political agenda in the past year. Significant groundwork has been achieved to turn the Government's environment and climate commitments into action over the next 3-4 years. However, serious concerns remain regarding the Government's progress in addressing the biodiversity crisis, declining water quality, and the role of agriculture and forestry in these areas."

Highlights and lowlights:

The Government scored highly on some high profile subjects, including an 8 on Climate Governance where the panel found the climate law "delivered on the Government’s commitments to make provision for the enactment of ambitious 2030 and 2050 emissions targets and 5-year carbon budgets, in addition to enhancing the expertise and diversity of the Climate Change Advisory Council."

In other areas progress was disappointing. On Biodiversity the panel found "Commitments to review the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) mandate and convene a Citizens’ Assembly on biodiversity are progressing too slowly, and the Government has thus far failed to address their commitments on hedgerows, invasive species and implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan" and awarded the Government a 4.5.

Meanwhile in agriculture, where policy is frequently controversial and contested, the panel found: "Progress on the sustainability of Irish agriculture and forestry has been disappointing. Food Vision 2030 is incompatible with climate goals and emission reduction targets, perpetuates an agricultural model which is directly responsible for escalating nutrient pollution and locks Ireland into damaging water quality for the remainder of this Government" and awarded their lowest mark, a 4, for "Poor Progress".

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Update on our Power to the People Campaign

Issued in the blog on July 22, 2021 at 16:56:00.

Community Energy - FoE Europe Solar Panels

We want everyone to be involved in the renewable energy revolution! The energy of the future must be renewable but it should also be community owned! We believe that communities, schools and grassroots organisations should be supported to own, generate, use and sell their own electricity. Recognising the value that small generators can contribute to our energy transition is hugely important and should allow for income to be spread through communities, like schools, farms, local authorities - and create an incentive for more people and communities to invest in renewables.


Solar Schools

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Solar Bill a Ray of Sunshine in a Shady State of Affairs

Issued in news on June 28, 2021 at 16:40:00.

Community Energy - FoE Europe Solar Panels

Friends of the Earth
For immediate release
Thursday 28th June 2021

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Join our solar schools youth assemblies!

Issued in the blog on May 11, 2021 at 16:34:00.

SSchool assemblies

To address the climate crisis, we need to get off fossil fuels fast. Ireland has excellent renewable energy resources, but our energy system uses fossil fuels for the majority of our energy needs in transport, heating and electricity. This has to change. Fast! 

At Friends of the Earth we are working to make sure that Ireland’s energy system is fit for the future, with no more investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, no more exploration for fossil fuels and an energy system that values and supports citizens and communities participating in and benefiting from our renewable energy transition.

Read the full entry »

Power to the People Campaign Update

Issued in the blog on February 22, 2021 at 17:34:00.

Upperchurch_School pic with logo in sky

Power to the People is our campaign to achieve the electricity-related key results of the Strategic Objective on emissions reduction, by putting citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to 100% renewable power.

We’ve made good progress on our campaign to change the planning regulations to allow solar panels on schools. Two weeks ago the Sunday Business Post reported that planning regulations would be changing to facilitate solar panels on buildings, including schools. We're continuing our campaign for legislation to seal the deal on this and make sure it happens. 

Councillors around Ireland have been supporting this too, and both Galway County Council and Westmeath County Council have passed motions recently supporting a change in the planning regulations.

Read the full entry »

Have your say on Community Energy - Submit to the Microgeneration Consultation using our handy guide

Issued in the blog on February 04, 2021 at 17:05:00.

FoE Solar Image

We’ve reached a critical juncture in our campaign for renewable, community owned energy. In a matter of months we could finally have a support scheme for small renewable energy microgenerators. But this scheme could end up being very good - or pretty bad. The difference hangs in our collective hands!

We've been campaigning for this type of scheme for years. And now - finally - the Government has agreed that it’s needed!

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Watch it Back: Let's talk Community Energy

Issued in the blog on December 15, 2020 at 15:26:00.

Watch it back CP webinar

Earlier this month we hosted a special webinar on community owned renewable energy. Missed it? Well, don’t worry, we recorded it so you can watch it back at this link or in the screen below.

 We were delighted to be joined by Molly Walsh from Friends of the Earth Europe. Molly shared some inspiring stories from her new book, Community Energy: A practical guide to reclaiming power - which you can download here.

Community Energy book cover

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Let's talk community energy! Webinar and book launch

Issued in the blog on November 30, 2020 at 11:36:00.

Copy of Copy of CP webinar_booklet

Join us for a webinar this week! We'll be launching this stunning handbook for communities from Friends of the Earth Europe, and and exploring the opportunities for Irish communities in the energy transition in 2021 with Minister Eamon Ryan.  

Community energy is key to action on the climate crisis, boosting local economies, and reinvigorating communities. We’ve been campaigning for clean, community energy for a long time. It’s been a tough battle at times but things are finally starting to look bright!

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Catch up on Community Energy - October 2020

Issued in the blog on October 19, 2020 at 11:30:00.

Copy of Catch up on Community Energy FB

After years of campaigning on Community Energy, things are now looking bright! Last month Eirgrid held the first ever Irish renewable electricity auction, which gave the go ahead to 82 wind and solar parks, including two community owned solar parks from our partners at Community Power.

Community Power is Irelands first every 100% renewable and community owned electricity provider. You can switch your home or work electricity provider to Community Energy and know that you are supporting the change with clean, green and sound energy. 

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