Project TypeCommunity Energy
Services InvolvedCommunity Energy,
In association with NUIG Ryan Institute and the EU funded ‘REMOTE’ project, Tipperary Energy Agency has been invited to act as energy experts on a number of Eco Tours to the Aran Islands. The first tour to Inis Mor took place on 4th June 2014. The tours are aimed at sharing experiences of the newly formed Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Comharchumann Teoranta (Aran Islands Energy Co-op), a not for profit co-operative which offers equal shares for residents of the 3 islands. The aim is to make the Aran Islands self-sufficient and remove dependence on fossil fuels. The cost of heating oil on the Island is 22% higher than on the mainland in Galway. The energy co-operative wants to retrofit all houses and buildings on the island, replace fossil fuel burning heating systems with air source heat pumps or other renewable technologies, and produce electricity locally by installing wind turbines on the island to generate the energy required and therefore be carbon neutral.
The tours include a presentation by Dara Ó Maoildhia, chairperson of the Energy co-op, outlining the history of the Aran Islands Energy Co-Op, how and why it was established, its aims and ambitions and overall vision for the Islands. Tipperary Energy Agency spoke about the importance of energy efficiency, user behaviour, investment in retrofitting and renewables in a domestic setting. The tour continues with site visits to various projects taking place on Inis Mor, including the waste treatment centre. This process plant creates 7 jobs in the local community, and was one of the first recycling plants in Ireland. The importance of waste separation at source was introduced years before other local authorities introduced brown and recycle bins across the country. All of the islands food waste, paper and cardboard and glass are fully recycled and re-used on the island, reducing the amount of energy required to transport waste to the mainland. Only around 20% of the islands waste ends in landfill. Other sites visited were a domestic home that has been highly retrofitted and renewable PV panels and ASHP installed – 266 of the 500 houses on the 3 islands have signed up for energy efficient retrofits. Cultural sites were also included, with a guided tour up to Inis Mor’s main tourist destination, Dun Aengus, the famous prehistoric ring fort.
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