by Anita Killeen
“Sustainability” is certainly the buzz word and concept of the moment. But what does it actually mean?
When individuals and society, provide for their own needs, without compromising the prospects of their children and grandchildren, that’s sustainability.
The term is broadly used to indicate programs, initiatives and actions aimed at the preservation of a particular resource. There are 4 main pillars of sustainability – human, social, economic and environmental.
Environmental sustainability requires awareness of resource consumption, in particular energy. In December 2015, Ireland’s Energy White Paper was launched. This document set out government actions to achieve a low carbon energy system by 2050 and become carbon-free by 2100. This energy transition requires all energy users to think and act differently.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) was established as Ireland’s national energy authority under the Sustainable Energy Act 2002. The SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) programme was developed to support communities to develop energy management skills and knowledge. This includes low carbon transport and heating, and investing in smart technologies. A key part of this programme is the SEC Network which was established by SEAI in 2015 to support a national movement of SECs.
Ballinasloe Town Team has taken a progressive leap forward by joining the SEC Network to become a SEC.
We have ambitious goals to become one of the leading urban sustainable energy communities in Ireland.
When a community like ours joins the SEC Network, we learn about community energy and start to think about what we can do on the ground to become more energy efficient. This learning period is an opportunity to:
Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative which is a community led, One Stop Shop, home insulation upgrade & retrofitting organisation, whose aims are to; improve householders living conditions i.e. warmer, more efficient houses; alleviate fuel poverty: save money –through awareness of household energy efficiency; create jobs in the local communities and reduce carbon footprint
Clonakilty Sustainable Community bike scheme, the concept of which emerged from a key learning point from their 2020 Roadmap, that one third of energy demand in the Clonakilty area was attributable to transport, and not to mention the Aran Islands Energy Co-op – a community owned energy cooperative who are working towards becoming self-sufficient in locally generated renewable energy and free of dependence on oil, coal and gas by 2022.
There are inspiring communities all around Ireland taking part in sustainable projects and initiatives. We want the same for Ballinasloe.
The wider community is essential to the success of our SEC. We want to lead, influence, engage and enable our local citizens to make better energy choices.
We aim to officially launch our SEC early 2021 We plan to use several platforms of engagement to share our local community energy story; meetings, social media platforms, local newspapers etc. We want to involve a range of different energy users in the community such as homes, sports clubs, schools, community centres, churches and businesses. In this way, our SEC connects sustainable energy, local economic development and public wellbeing.
If you would like to get involved and join our journey we would absolutely love to hear from you. Feel free to contact Anita Killeen on email; firstname.lastname@example.org
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