Community co-operatives sign renewable energy ‘proclamation’

As Paris climate talks continue, 100 groups call for creation of jobs in local energy plants

The proclamation calls for realistic financial supports for solar energy. Solar panels   in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, southern France. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

The proclamation calls for realistic financial supports for solar energy. Solar panels in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, southern France. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

 

One hundred community energy co-operatives have signed a proclamation calling on the Government to incentivise locally-based projects that improve energy efficiency and replace fossils fuels with locally generated renewable power.

The Community Energy Proclamation is to be launched today, as Minister for Energy Alex White meets energy ministers from around the world at COP21 in Paris to discuss reducing greenhouse gases.

The proclamation calls for an Irish “transition to a clean, secure energy future” in line with what its backers see as the aims of the COP21.

Members of Energy Co-operatives Ireland, which produced the proclamation, want to see centrally generated fossil-based fuels replaced by locally generated renewable energy schemes – a process which aims to reduce the State’s carbon emissions and create jobs in local enterprises.

Environmental campaigner Duncan Stewart said fears that small, locally produced power could destabilise the grid were no longer valid. He said new smart micro energy grid technology could be one of the most significant developments in the move to a low carbon economy.

The proclamation calls for realistic financial supports for solar energy and a “fair price” for excess energy which would be “exported” from community schemes to the national grid.

They also want a “renewable heat” incentive which includes communities generating their own district heating.

The 100 organisations signed up to the proclamation say the money saved could be retained in the community and used to finance jobs in renewable energy projects.