Seven community renewable energy projects are set to get underway following the Irish Government’s decision to support them under their new Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS).

The Government announced on Friday 11th September the results of the first RESS auction, in which projects placed bids to supply power to the grid at the most competitive prices. 82 new renewable energy projects were successful in the auction. They will be supported by the RESS to go into power generation. Ireland's Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan predicted the scheme would help lower electricity prices by up to 30 per cent in coming years. Seven of the successful applicants were community-based schemes.

The Minister said that, “Renewable electricity is a central element of our action on climate disruption”, and that the RESS scheme “lays the foundations of a thriving and cost-effective renewable electricity market that supports the growth of the green economy, creates sustainable work opportunities, and ultimately benefits the consumer".

The scheme supports a €1.4 billion investment and will generate 1,000 jobs.

The community element of the scheme is hugely positive. Seven communities will be supported to produce their own power. Five communities will undertake solar energy projects while two will undertake onshore wind projects. The projects will be community-owned and revenue from their operation will be recycled back into those communities. One of the projects, Lurrig Solar Farm, is located in Cork.

This scheme supports community engagement on a large scale, and will inspire other communities to get involved and generate their own renewable electricity.

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