22 August 2021
By Tom Collins
SSE Renewables, a leading developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy, has donated over €129,000 to 32 projects in Cork through its Coomacheo and Curragh Community Fund, and the Coomatallin Community Fund. The company has today published its Community Investment Review that contains information on the €1.1 million donated to 412 projects across Ireland in 2020/2021. The company provides voluntary community funding from its wind farms in support of energy efficiency, safety and sustainability projects.
In Cork, the Coomacheo and Curragh Community Fund, which distributes wind powered funding on behalf of Coomacheo and Curragh Wind Farms awarded €118,800 to 28 groups, including six schools for measures to enable the schools to re-open during the pandemic. The Coomatallin Community Fund awarded €10,722 to five groups including one school for Covid-19 measures.
Cloghoula National School received funding to convert a storage room into an extra class room from the Coomacheo and Curragh Community Fund. Mary Murphy, Principal, Cloghoula National School said: “We are delighted to be receiving funding from the SSE Airtricity Community Fund, due to Covid-19 significant adaptions were needed in the school to protect the pupils and teachers. It is a small school in a remote area outside Millstreet. The lack of space to social distance was a problem but the storage room converted will give us an extra class room and special education room.”
Dominic Hayes, Principal Drinagh National School said: “The funding from SSE Airtricity Community Fund will enable us to support the community of Drinagh National School who have struggled during these challenging times. We have 72 children in the school and this funding means we can deliver our book rental throughout the whole school, which will support struggling families as many parents have lost their jobs and are in need of financial support. The funding will enable us to purchase iPads for remote learning and PPE and sanitization equipment for the school to enable it to open safely.”
Ionad Lae Baile Mhúirne received a donation of €5,356 to help with the costs of the meals on wheels service required in lockdown. Most of the residents supported are in remote and isolated areas and the delivery of a daily meal is for some the only contact they get. The demand for the meals on wheels service increased significantly during lockdown. The team quickly mobilised so to that up to 4,258 meals are delivered every month. For many of the recipients the service was their only engagement with the outside world and become vital to their well-being. “Demand for our service is higher than it has ever been. Many of our residents live alone and have no other means of obtaining a hot meal. Thanks to the funding received from SSE Renewables,” said Jeramiah, Manager, Ionad Lae.
SSE Renewables has donated €1.1m to 412 projects through its annual Community Fund across Ireland in 2020/2021. Details of these donations made to Irish communities in the last year are contained in the company’s annual Community Investment Review, published this week. The donation, made to local groups, sports organisations and schools among others, is the largest-ever yearly investment made by SSE Renewables into local communities from its wind farms.
The latest Community Fund donation brings the total contribution made by SSE Renewables to local communities in Ireland to €8.9m so far since 2004. In that time the Community Fund awards have supported over 3,200 projects and good causes in the areas closest to its wind farms.
SSE Renewables, which is the power behind leading green energy provider and sister company SSE Airtricity, provides voluntary funding every year to community groups in the vicinity of its wind farms in support of energy efficiency, safety and sustainability projects as well as social and environmental projects to enable community development.
The Community Investment Review highlights how in the last year SSE Renewables has also provided Covid-19 relief supports to communities when they needed it most during the pandemic. Over €350,000 was distributed within six months to help local Covid-19 response efforts. This funding was awarded to community groups operating near SSE Renewables’ wind farms located in Cork, Cavan, Donegal, Wexford, Monaghan, Sligo, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary and Galway.
Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables said “The past year has demonstrated to us all how important our local communities are. We are thankful that communities have trusted us to provide financial support during this difficult year. We are committed to using the green recovery and the growth of our renewables infrastructure to help even more communities in the year to come.”
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic SSE Renewables had committed to providing 10% of the annual awards from their funds to support rural areas during cope with the emergency. As the scale of the impact became clear they invested over €2.3 million towards pandemic related projects helping groups from Galway to Sutherland to mitigate the impact of the crisis. From establishing befriending services, safeguarding homelessness services to manufacturing PPE, the ability of rural communities to protect their most vulnerable residents was shown in every community.
The company’s Community Investment Review also demonstrates its continued commitment to operating in a net zero world and supporting a green economy through the delivery of new renewable energy assets to achieve a net zero future.
SSE Renewables will support Ireland’s green recovery with the continued development of projects both on and offshore, including Arklow Bank Wind Park, Phase 2, the first of the next generation of offshore wind energy sites in Ireland. The company has also commenced construction of the onshore Lenalea Wind Farm in Co. Donegal, a co-development with partners Coillte Renewable Energy. Both projects can play a key role in advancing the transition to a zero-carbon future and meeting Ireland’s climate action goals, while supporting local communities to realise the positive social and economic benefits that each project can deliver during construction and throughout their operational lifetime.