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