Communities and Energy
In recent years there has been a substantial growth in the development of renewable energy and in particular wind in Co. Fermanagh and across Northern Ireland. This has had and will continue to have significant implications for rural communities.
Recognising this, the Trust realised that it was important to fully understand any opportunities these developments may present for communities. The Trust had already become aware of best practice adopted in Scotland where communities have become active partners in wind farm development.
The Trust therefore conducted research to find out more about these issues. In January 2012, Fermanagh Trust published the report ‘Maximising Community Outcomes From Wind Energy Developments’ which explores the opportunities that exist for communities to engage with commercial onshore wind energy development. The report was funded and supported by Building Change Trust.
The report identifies the provision of community benefits associated with wind energy development, models of community ownership and good practice towards engaging with communities. Finally the report makes a series of important recommendations for communities, developers, local councils and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Following the report, the Fermanagh Trust has continued to promote the role of community engagement with wind energy and the potential benefits. The Trust also recognises the importance of community energy which includes the ability of communities to generate their own electricity from renewable energy projects. Community energy has huge potential for the sustainability of communities and the Trust will continue to support its development in Fermanagh and across Northern Ireland.
Left to right Lauri McCusker, Fermanagh Trust, Alex Attwood MLA, Graeme Dunwoody, Fermanagh Trust, Stephen Hamilton, DOE