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Representation in Ireland

Irish islands take part in EU clean energy project

Islands off the coast of Ireland are set to become more self-sufficient, prosperous and sustainable thanks to a EU clean energy initiative.

View of one of the Aran Islands

The Clean Energy for EU islands project

The Aran Islands and Cape Clear are amongst 26 islands across Europe taking part in an ambitious project to transition to clean energy sources.

Despite having an abundance of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and waves, most islands still depend on expensive fossil fuel imports for heat, cooking and hot water.

The objective of Clean Energy for EU Islands is to help as many island communities as possible to reduce their dependency on energy imports and make better use of locally available renewable energy sources. It will also promote modern and innovative energy systems and help islanders reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cape Clear - leading the transition

Cape Clear, or Oileán Chléíre in Irish, is an ideal location for the project.

The 5km long island was a global leader in clean energy over 30 years ago when Ireland’s first wind energy system was built there.

“Cape Clear was actually a pioneering island when it came to renewable energy,” said Mairtín Ó Méalóid, manager of island co-op, Comharchumann Chléire Teoranta (CCT).

Ó Méalóid hopes Clean Energy for EU Islands will once again see Cape Clear as a leader in green energy.

“Long-term, it could have huge significance for the island,” he said.

It would make Cape Clear one of the pioneering green energy islands again and we would expect that it would bring a certain amount of eco-tourism too.

”Locals are keen to get the island generating its own renewable energy again as soon as possible.

The Cape Clear community is developing a clean energy transition agenda that’s due to be published in 2020, but a fantastic green energy initiative will arrive on the island in the summer of 2019.

The National Transport Authority is introducing electric buses to the island as part of a pilot project that could replace its Local Link rural transport service across the country.

Two seven-seater electric minibuses will be handed over to CCT, which runs the existing island service.

They will be initially charged using purchased green units and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The ultimate goal is to charge them from power generated by the island’s original wind turbines from the 1980s which will be renovated for this purpose.