Sustainable Communities

by | May 18, 2024

ECI has been operating in the Community Renewable Energy sector since 2011. It has played a key role in the establishment of five thriving energy co-operatives, and we continue to offer these co-ops valuable technical advice on their Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects.

The work of researchers on our panel has engaged over 100 communities in resource use measurement and awareness-raising. It has produced many deep interventions in Irish communities such as Galway City, the Aran Islands, Achill, Valentia, Claremorris, and many others.

Our team of sustainability exerts have conducted numerous Energy Master Plans for communities across Ireland. These range from level one (villages and islands) to level three (large towns and cities). We have many years’ experience in providing locally focussed top-quality support for communities. As a community-based organisation ourselves we have a unique insight into SECs needs and opportunities.

ECI has recently completed an Energy Master Plan for Galway Energy Co-op Westside SEC which covers an area on the west side of Galway City (a Level 3 SEC with a population of more than 40,000) with public findings and recommendations launched in December 2023 (link to presentation).

We conducted the Castlepollard SEC EMP during 2023 (link to information leaflet summary EMP). We are currently working with The Downs SEC and Milltownpass SEC on their EMPs.

ECI completed a County Wide training programme in held across five locations throughout Mayo.

Sponsored by the Climate Action Regional Office and South West Mayo Development Company Ltd, series of our three-hour workshops (17 in all) touched on every aspect of sustainability, energy and resource reduction measures including creating a roadmap of feasible sustainability actions at the individual and community level. A link to the workshops is available here:

We have worked closely with Valentia Island Development Committee since they came to us in 2015 in our capacity as national experts in renewable energy co-operatives. We encouraged them to participate in the SEC program in the South West Region, and they progressed rapidly through the learn plan do journey. We have helped them to promote their vision of establishing an energy co-operative on the island assisting in the organising of public meetings, energy awareness capacity building and providing invaluable contacts with the renewable energy research community. VIDCO asked us to assist them in fulfilling their ambitious plans to put the island to the forefront of green innovation and participation in H2020 research projects now in train. We have also enabled them to identify realistic targets for their energy conservation projects which include routes to finance and market.

ECI guided and then partnered CFOAT on its journey to becoming a beacon or exemplar of sustainability: twice winner of the SEAI’s sustainable community award. We demonstrated the benefit of prioritizing conservation measures ahead of generation, thereby demonstrating the ‘holistic’ approach to promoting sustainability.

We promoted the importance of conducting a detailed evaluation of the building stock and energy consumption pattern in a representative cross section of community, business, and domestic buildings.