Creating Projects that are Good for Local Communities
Since mid 2018, extensive community engagement has been undertaken with neighbours living close to the proposed site. This is part of our fair play approach for those who are most impacted by the development and living within 2km of a proposed turbine.
The project manager and community liaison officer have undertaken a programme of work to ensure that accurate information is shared and that stakeholders have a forum where queries can be posed and addressed. The format of this programme includes printed information, house visits, community meetings, small group meetings and monthly progress meetings, which have been ongoing on this project since June 2018 and will continue into the future. As specified in the fair play programme, once the project design has reached the latter stages, engagement expands to the wider community in advance of a planning application. All the information within is formatted to provide an understanding of the proposed wind farm, its design and its environmental credentials.
What is a Community Benefit Fund and how does it work?
Croagh Wind Farm has the potential to bring significant positive benefits to local communities. The project will support local employment, it will contribute annual rates to the local authority and it will provide opportunity for a local Community Benefit Fund in the project in line with the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is a policy initiative to deliver on the Government’s Climate Action Plan. One key emphasis is that communities should benefit directly from all the renewable electricity projects being supported by the scheme.
An important feature of RESS is that all projects must establish a Community Benefit Fund to be used for the wider environmental, social and economic wellbeing of the local community, and the scheme puts communities at the heart of the decision-making.
What does this bring to the local community?
The proposed Croagh Wind Farm project has the potential to participate in the Government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) auction process. RESS acts as a policy support for the renewable energy industry and is helping the Government to meet its 2030 climate targets.
Should Croagh Wind Farm be successful in a future auction, a Community Benefit Fund will be established which includes funding for wider community initiatives and a near neighbour scheme.
For each megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced by the wind farm, the project will contribute €2 into a community fund for the RESS period i.e. first 15 years of operation and €1 per MWh for the remaining lifetime of the wind farm. If the wind farm is constructed as proposed, any such fund would deliver approximately €5million in the local area for community funding over the lifetime of the project.
Please find an outline of the RESS Community Benefit Fund and a copy of the Government’s Community Benefit Fund Good Practice Principles Handbook here.