Community Benefit Scheme
Shronowen Community Benefit Funding
We at EMPower are fully committed to ensuring we work with and support the communities we work in. Shronowen Wind Farm will provide a community fund of approximately 302,000 per year, to be made available to the local community for the duration of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (~16 years). The total fund is calculated as €2/MWh of electricity produced by the project, and as such, may vary depending on the final permitted capacity and generation performance of the project.
The community benefit scheme is intended to be divided as per the example illustrated in the adjacent chart. The three main allocations of this fund are i) a near neighbour scheme, ii) a fund for not-for-profit enterprises and initiatives, and iii) a fund for local clubs and societies.
We would welcome any suggestions on suitable local projects, initiatives or clubs and societies that could be supported by these funds.
Near Neighbour Scheme
We at EMPower believe that those living nearest the development should benefit the most from the project's success. As such, an annual payment of €1,000 will be provided to each household within 1km of any Shronowen Wind Farm turbine. An annual payment of €500 will be provided to each household located between 1km and 2km of a turbine. These payments will run for the duration of the RESS programme (~16 years).
Not-for-profit Enterprise and Initiative Fund
A Fund will be established to support a range of projects that will provide benefits across the wider community. We at EMPower feel our communities know where these funds are best focused and as such our aim is to support community management of this fund. EMPower will administer the fund along with a community appointed committee. The ability to allocate community project funds (based on pre-agreed criteria) will be made within the existing local community. Previous successful Community Projects in Ireland have focused on areas such as Sports & Recreation, Environmental & Social Sustainability, Skills Development and Energy Efficiency.
As per the terms and conditions of the first RESS auction, 40% of the community benefit fund will be allocated to not-for-profit local enterprises and initiative, with an emphasis placed on those addressing climate change. Given a wind farm capacity of 50 MW, we presently estimate this amount to total an average of €120,000 per year.
Local Clubs and Societies
The remainder of the fund will be allocated to local clubs and societies, approved by the community appointed committee.This is estimated to amount to an average of 42,000 per year for the duration of the RESS programme.
EM Power would welcome feedback from the community in regard to how our Community Benefit Fund is structured and administered. Please feel free to complete the feedback form on our website here.
Irish Wind Energy Association Best Practise Guidelines
[“IWEA and its members support the provision of financial contributions by wind farm operators to local communities and have sought to formulate best practice principles for the provision of a community commitment.
IWEA understands the importance of community commitment initiatives and has actively promoted best practice guidelines for community engagement among its members. Increasing community acceptance of wind energy is central to the efficient deployment and expansion of wind energy in Ireland. The development of Ireland's significant wind energy resource is an extremely positive economic development for Ireland and resulting in greater security of our energy supply and job creation, providing a hedge against high fossil fuel prices and a reduction in Green House Gas emissions.”]
In order to achieve Ireland’s Renewable Energy targets for 2030 a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will be introduced. This support now requires that developers put in place a Community Benefit Fund that goes beyond the current approach both in terms of contribution and scope. EM Power fully endorses this change that ensures communities are at the centre of all renewable electricity projects.
Community Benefit in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS)
What is RESS?
The new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) will help deliver Ireland’s contribution to the EU-wide binding renewable energy target of 32% RES out to 2030, with this level of ambition recently agreed by EU Commission, EU Parliament and EU Council. Where possible, the scheme will also deliver additional renewable electricity which can be counted towards Ireland’s RES-E 2020 target.
In terms if Community Benefit RESS requires;
“Mandatory Community Benefit Fund and Register standardised across the sector. It is proposed that this contribution is set at €2/MWh for all RES-E generation produced and seeking support via RESS auctions. A national community benefits register will be established.”
RESS also provides guidelines for how community funds should be administered and allocated, published in the RESS Terms and Conditions (2019).