A new partnership between the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Atlantic Seaboard North Climate Action Regional Office, which consists of counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway, will pay communities up to €25,000 towards the upfront costs of their energy upgrade projects. 

The partnership will provide vital bridge funding to assist communities in achieving their sustainable energy ambitions.

According to the SEAI, between 8% and 15% of a farm’s overhead expenses are spent on energy every year.

The SEAI has said that by removing the financial barriers of trying to raise initial funding, the communities involved can focus on leading their projects and developing a sustainable energy plan for their local area.

Energy grant funding

The local authority involved will recoup the initial funding cost from SEAI.

Speaking about this bridge funding William Walsh, CEO of SEAI, said: “Community action plays a central role in Ireland’s response to the climate crisis. All over Ireland groups are coming together to create sustainable energy projects that will benefit their communities and radically reduce their climate impact.

“SEAI will work with local authorities across the country to roll this out in due course, making this type of funding more accessible to interested communities.”

Achill Island, in Co. Mayo is the first community in the Sustainable Energy Community network to avail of this bridge funding, with a further eight local communities already signed up to the initiative. 

Sabine Wandel from Achill Sustainable Energy Community said: “Receiving this funding through Mayo County Council means we can start our energy masterplan straight away.

“Our aim is to create a comprehensive blueprint for the future of the parish of Achill and beyond.”

Paddy Mahon, chair of the County and City Management Association’s Climate Action, Transport and Network Committee, and chief executive of Longford County Council said:

“This bridge funding partnership is a significant step in the local authority sector’s ambition to mobilise climate action in our communities.

“Local authorities want to work with communities in very practical ways to support and encourage them to embrace climate action and contribute to the development of low carbon resilient villages, towns, and cities.

“This partnership with SEAI is a great example of that, allowing communities to assess their energy use and identify options with no financial outlay.”

SEAI funding support

SEAI provides mentoring and grants of up to €25,000 for more than 560 communities across Ireland.

Funding allows communities to undertake a baseline assessment of their energy use, carry out energy audits of their homes, community buildings and local businesses, and helps them to identify the most suitable renewable energy solutions for them.

SEAI is funded by the government through the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.