At FuturEnergy Ireland and ART Generation, we believe in speaking to the local community right from the start and continuing this engagement throughout the entire lifetime of the wind farm.
On the ground, we have Community Liaison Officer Shane Lowry. His job is to provide information and answer your queries.
Shane will be calling to houses in the local area throughout the project, distributing newsletters and making sure you get the information that you need.
Our commitment to you
- A dedicated project Community Liaison Officer, Shane Lowry (right), who you can contact directly via email or telephone. We welcome your feedback and comments
- Regular newsletter updates
- All updates added to this website
- The opportunity to meet a team specialist or consultant relevant to your query
- A full project brochure
- A Virtual Exhibition linked to this website pre-planning
Supporting a local renewable energy project comes with many benefits for the community
Community Benefit Fund
Scart Mountain Wind Farm has the potential to bring significant positive benefits to local communities, including a Community Benefit Fund in line with the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).
RESS is a policy initiative to deliver on the Government’s Climate Action Plan. 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.
Those living in closest proximity should be priority beneficiaries and that is why some of the fund is designated for Near Neighbour payments. However, it is important that broader community benefits apply too.
Community Benefit Fund
The scheme mandates all RESS projects to establish a Community Benefit Fund worth €2 per MWh (megawatt hour) of generated electricity for any future wind farm. Therefore, the project owners are required to contribute €2 per MWh annually into a community fund for the RESS contract period i.e. the first 15 years of operation. The total fund per annum will depend on the final power output of a successful project.
The Castlebanny Community Benefit Fund is estimated to exceed €500,000 per annum for the first 15 years. This means that Castlebanny Wind Farm will contribute more than €7.5 million to the local community during its lifetime.
The ‘Good Practice Principles Handbook for Community Benefit Funds’, published in July 2021 by the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications, sets out how the funds should be used and managed.
What does your community need?
When it comes to the Community Benefit Fund, communities will be at the centre of the decision-making process, which gives them the opportunity to develop a strategy to maximise the benefits.
One particular focus of the fund is to support local initiatives that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as home and community hall retrofits, pollinator farms, cycling paths, educational material and scholarships, and sports club activities.
Local rates contributions
Castlebanny Mountain Wind Farm will contribute an estimated €1.8 million to €2.3 million in annual rates payments to Kilkenny County Council, an important contributor in exchequer funding.
This would have a positive impact on the development of local infrastructure such as roads, public transport, lighting, street cleaning, libraries, fire services, public amenities and employment.
FuturEnergy Ireland works with Steam Education by sponsoring their ‘Climate in a Box’ lessons for national schools in areas close to our wind farms. This series of five lessons, given by the class teacher, are a fun, interactive way to learn about climate change, sustainability and how we can all be more ecofriendly.
We are also running a pilot programme in areas where we have live projects, whereby our Community Liaison Officers go into secondary schools and run a ‘Renewable Energy & You’ session, especially for Transition Year students. If you are interested in taking part in this pilot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Have your say
It’s important for us to be good neighbours and we take this responsibility very seriously. We welcome feedback from the community throughout the lifetime of this project.
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Speak to a Community Liaison Officer, either in person, by phone or via email
- Join the project webinar
- Visit the Virtual Exhibition
- Attend the in-person Community Engagement Clinic