PEDAL POWER Members of the Mulranny Green Plan Group and CountryWide reporter Mary McDonnell with the solar-panel-powered community e-bikes. Pic: Twitter/@GreyHeronMedia
Local sustainable-energy group shortlisted for SEAI Energy Award
THE Mulranny Green Plan Group has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Energy Awards 2022, in the Inspirational Energy Community category.
Recognised as a Sustainable Energy Community by the SEAI, the hardworking group is among the cohort of energy-conscious businesses and communities that have been chosen for their dedication to an energy-efficient way of working and living.
Employing a cooperative-based approach to climate action, the Mulranny Green Plan members work with partner groups connected to Mulranny Community Futures, an umbrella organisation with representatives from 25 community organisations.
The group’s aims are multi-fold: to help the those living and working in the community go carbon neutral, be eco-friendly and improve the energy fabric of their homes and businesses. They also wish to develop renewable energy projects. Ultimately, their vision is to preserve the unique environment of Mulranny, enhancing it for future generations.
And their aims are not just aspirational – they have not only run energy retrofitting workshops, they’ve also created Ireland’s first community-owned e-bike share scheme, and it is fully powered by renewable energy.
Keen to get more locals out cycling, leaving the car at home, the group bought three electric bicycles for community members to share, realising that these powerful e-bikes make cycling easier for people of all generations. The bikes are kept in the voluntary-run tourist office, where they’re charged by energy captured from solar panels on the roof.
The clever initiative has quite rightly attracted national attention, with RTÉ Radio 1’s CountryWide reporting on the scheme in a programme that aired last weekend.
The annual SEAI Energy Awards recognise and reward excellence in sustainable energy in business, communities, research, buildings, renewables and the public sector. The Mulranny Green Plan Group was shortlisted from over 100 entries – no mean feat. According to SEAI, the judges were impressed by their innovative sustainable energy solutions, the way they have inspired energy action among their colleagues and peers, and their dedication to the climate-action movement.
The winners will be announced at the national awards ceremony in October – the first in-person SEAI awards celebration in three years after the ceremonies were moved online due to the pandemic.
Congratulating the entrants and finalists, Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business Supports and Transport with SEAI said:
“It is the 19th year of the Energy Awards and each year the SEAI team, and our external VIP Judges, continue to be blown away by the quality of entries, and the grassroots climate action underway in all pockets of our society. We received 107 entries from businesses, communities, and organisations across the country who are leading the movement, reshaping our communities and businesses, and encouraging every one of us through their action.
“With the urgent need to accelerate climate action in the context of energy supply constraints and rising costs, their work is more important now than ever and we hope they can provide an example to others.”
The other categories in the awards include Energy Team or Manager of the Year, Excellence in Energy Research and Innovation, Energy in Buildings, Public Sector, Large Business, Small and Medium Business, Innovative Deployment of Renewable Energy, Transport and Residential Energy Upgrades.
For more on the awards and the other short-listed entries, visit www.seai.ie/energyawards.