The Green Party today launched the Community Energy (Co-Ownership) Bill 2017 which empowers local communities by requiring they be given the option to purchase up to 30% of a local renewable energy development.
Green Party spokesperson for Energy, Gearóid Fitzgibbon, said today: “This Bill offers the opportunity to localise the ownership and the benefits of the renewable energy production in the communities where these resources are situated. This Bill will ensure renewable energy developers cannot access planning permission unless they offer 30% of the project to the local community.
“Evidence for the appetite for community energy programmes is already out there; in Tipperary, in just 5 years, a group of communities I work with have leveraged almost €7 million in investment, upgraded over 700 homes, and supported over 100 local jobs. The Bill sets out a community co-operative approach, which, together with microgeneration for rooftop solar and other sources, will allow communities and local people to become the drivers and beneficiaries of the transition to a low carbon energy system.”
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan T.D. said: “Ireland has not yet developed any kind of workable community energy sector. Germany over the last 10 years has seen the development of over 1,000 locally owned renewable energy cooperatives - this means local jobs and investment. The state has backed this set up and even has a national office for energy coops. Our Bill begins this process of establishing locally owned renewable energy co-ops.
“From the GAA to Tidy Towns to Meals on Wheels, Ireland’s strength lies in is its community spirit. Based on international evidence, the Green Party believe Ireland can be a leader on climate by enabling communities themselves to benefit from the transition to a low carbon economy, not just large private companies or multi-nationals.”