PLAY­ING OUR PART IN SAV­ING THE EN­VI­RON­MENT

ALL AROUND THE COUNTY INI­TIA­TIVES, HOW­EVER SMALL, ARE MAK­ING A BIG DIF­FER­ENCE AS WICK­LOW PLAYS ITS PART IN PRO­MOT­ING EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL AWARE­NESS AND PRO­TECT­ING THE PLANET. WE SHINE A LIGHT ON SOME OF THE WICK­LOW PROJECTS

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MYLES BUCHANAN

WICK­LOW Tidy Towns are leading ef­forts to es­tab­lish Wick­low as a Sus­tain­able En­ergy Com­mu­nity

(SEC).

Over 70 peo­ple at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing held in April and a Steer­ing Group has been es­tab­lished con­sist­ing of ten peo­ple.

More than 200 Sus­tain­able En­ergy Com­mu­ni­ties (SECs) are being set up cur­rently across Ire­land with sup­port fi­nan­cially and non-fi­nan­cially from the Sus­tain­able En­ergy Au­thor­ity of Ire­land (SEAI) so that com­mu­ni­ties can do their bit to tackle the is­sue of cli­mate change and en­ergy use.

In­for­ma­tion has al­ready been gath­ered on the cur­rent en­ergy con­sump­tion in the Wick­low com­mu­nity and plans will be put in place to de­ter­mine how to re­duce those lev­els.

Chair of Wick­low Tidy Towns, An­drew Law­less, said: ‘We will be ap­ply­ing to the SEAI for a part­ner­ship. They can pro­vide up to €15,000 at this stage, de­pend­ing on the size of your en­ergy bill. We will also be com­pli­ant over a en­ergy au­dit of the town. Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have ap­pointed con­sul­tants for their own build­ings and we will be able to use them so there won’t be any need for a pro­cure­ment process. It’s ex­pected that the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties will play a ma­jor role be­cause the SEAI will be flooded with ap­pli­ca­tions.’

Ear­lier this year the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment has pub­lished its “Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan 2019” set­ting out am­bi­tious tar­gets and mea­sures to en­sure that Ire­land be­comes Car­bon Neu­tral by 2050.

House­hold­ers, busi­nesses, sports clubs, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, driv­ers, trans­port com­pa­nies can all in­volve them­selves in Wick­low Tidy Town’s ef­forts to es­tab­lish an SEC.

In the mean­time the SEC Steer­ing Group have been learn­ing all about Wick­low town’s en­ergy con­sump­tion as part of their ap­pli­ca­tion to SEAI..

‘We looked at the 2016 Cen­sus and the num­ber of houses lo­cated in Wick­low and the travel times for com­muters. We also looked at all the busi­nesses in the town and es­ti­mated that the an­nual en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture each year is around €14.5 mil­lion. We hope to get homes to take part in a sur­vey as part of an en­ergy au­dit so we can get an idea of how much en­ergy they use. That should pro­vide us with a firmer fig­ure re­gard­ing en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture. We can then plan how to re­duce it,’ added Mr Law­less.

Ear­lier in the year lo­cal Tidy Towns mem­bers at­tended a con­fer­ence in Athlone to hear learn about some of the new tech­nolo­gies and how the pub­lic can be as­sisted in mak­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient de­ci­sions in the fu­ture. They have also been en­cour­aged by some lo­cal ef­forts as well, which can be added to a Regis­ter of Op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘Wick­low Ten­nis Club ap­plied for fund­ing for new LED flood­lights. It would be won­der­ful if we could get other clubs to fol­low their lead. Wick­low County Coun­cil have plans for a solar shed which will gen­er­ate around 40 per cent of the en­ergy in the county build­ings. This is very much a com­mu­nity-driven ef­fort and has to be built from the ground up,’ added Mr Law­less.

WICK­LOW COUNTY COUN­CIL HAVE PLANS FOR A SOLAR SHED WHICH WILL GEN­ER­ATE AROUND 40 PER CENT OF THE ENGERGY IN COUNTY BUILD­INGS

Vol­un­teers of Wick­low Tidy Towns, in­clud­ing chair­man An­drew Law­less who is sec­ond from the right.

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