The workshop was held on the 1st of October 2012 in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland by a member of FEDARENE. It was held as part of the SERVE Energy Week.
A number of Local Authorities have already taken a lead in the development of SEAP’s in Ireland while others have expressed interest in completing SEAPs. In 2011 the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) launched the Sustainable Energy Communities initiative.
This involved a range of communities of various scales (rural region, town and urban city region) completing submissions to SEAI to become leading sustainable energy communities. Dublin City Council has submitted, and had approved its SEAP and 5 other municipalities and Local Authorities have submitted or will submit theirs also. At a regional level a number of action plans and strategies have been completed including the Mid West Regional Authority, Climate Change Strategy, South East Regional Bioenergy Action Plan. 22 Local Authorities have already completed Energy Management training through the SEAI Energy MAP programme to support them addressing their own energy demand and achieve a 33% energy demand reduction by 2020 compared to 2008.
There are two regions in Ireland which have completed works under the EU CONCERTO Programme. The SERVE project in Tipperary and the HOLISTIC project in Dundalk have been leading demonstrations of a range of sustainable energy actions including retrofitting, district heating, renewable energy development and energy monitoring. The challenges faced in Ireland at present are with financial challenges to implement sustainable energy actions. Energy Supply Companies (ESCO), Energy Performance Contracting (EPCs) and other financial models are being discussed and debated in an attempt to overcome these barriers.
In principle the knowledge of the CoM initiative is low in Ireland, in particular with politicians. Local Energy Agencies and their associated executive staff have some knowledge but there is a need to communicate more effectively with the politicians to convince them of the benefit of the initiative.