Community Benefit Scheme
Coumnagappul Community Benefit Funding
We at EMPower are fully committed to ensuring we work with and support the communities we work in.
Coumnagappul Wind Farm will provide a community fund calculated in accordance with the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) terms and conditions at €2 per MWh of electricity produced by the project. This is to be made available to the local community for the duration of the RESS (15 years). The average capacity factor of wind energy projects in Ireland is 28.3% (SEAI, 2019). Using this efficiency figure as an example, and a capacity of 68 MW, the community benefit fund would amount to an average of €337,155 per annum. The actual fund will vary around the average from year to year, depending on wind conditions. Onsite wind measurements suggest that Coumnagappul could be capable of achieving an above average capacity factor, and therefore a larger community fund.
This scheme is proposed to be divided as per the the indicative illustration. An annual minimum payment of €1,000 will be provided to each household within 1km of any Coumnagappul Wind Farm turbine. An annual minimum payment of €500 will be provided to each household located between 1km and 2km of any turbine. These payments will be fixed for the 15 year duration of the RESS and will not fluctuate. In addition, 40% of the fund, amounting to approximately €134,862 per year in this example, will be allocated to not-for-profit community enterprises, with an emphasis on low-carbon initiatives. The remainder of the fund will be directed towards local clubs, societies and other initiatives.
EMPower would welcome feedback from the community in regard to how our Community Benefit Fund is structured and administered.
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 will result 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 Energy 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 the 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;
“a 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).