Creating Projects that are Good for Local Communities
Since spring 2019, 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 generally 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 and small group meetings.
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?
Glenard 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 Glenard 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 Glenard 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. If the wind farm is constructed as proposed, any such fund would deliver approximately €350,000 annually to community projects for the first 15 years of the wind farm’s lifespan as part of RESS.
FuturEnergy Ireland commits to delivering a further 15 years of funding of approximately €175,000 annually. This means the project would deliver an estimated overall Community Benefit Fund of €8million for 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.