The Loop Head Energy Action Partnership (LEAP) will present its findings on local renewable energy opportunities in Kilkee on the 29th of February.
The seminar presenting the findings of the research and planning the steps going forward will be held in the Kilkee Bay Hotel from 9:30 to 14:30 on Saturday the 29th February.
Speakers will include the leaders from the research team, Brian McNally from the Western Development Commission (WDC), John Aston from Astoneco Management, Representative(s) from NUIG, and others still to be confirmed.
This community-led project works with its participants to understand the components of the energy revolution enough to master its potential as they face up to the many economic, social and environmental challenges in rural Ireland.
The project is developed in partnership with the University of Flensburg, Germany, from whom 15 to 17 researchers have been based in Carrigaholt since the 27th of January. The remaining 15 stay until the 1st of March.
Progress made so far within the research team, as reported by Prof Bernd Moeller, the leader of the Flensburg University team, includes:
The first weeks went quickly with the preparation of workshops with community members and a number of field interviews with local residents, farmers, and businesses. Students have acquired a general overview of local energy demands and their distribution.
They have identified a number of homes, farms and businesses as case studies for pre-feasibility studies of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. Here, individual interventions like the insulation of buildings, the installation of roof-top solar, or the replacement of inefficient heating systems have been studied in detail.
The international group of engineering students are currently developing an energy model, which may serve as a dashboard for all aspects of the Loop Head energy system. The energy model provides an information basis on the current distributions of energy demands, and the associated environmental impact and the costs. When complete, the model will be the basis for the formulation of an energy vision for the peninsula. With the tool at hand, the community can verify the impact and the benefits of local projects in homes and businesses. A particular emphasis is on community-led projects around the themes building retrofit, biogas, solar PV, and wind energy.
To date the project included community meetings, interviews, presentations from the Aran Island Energy Coop and the leader of SEAI’s sustainable energy community program.
All the material generated to date and the presentations made are available on: https://www.astoneco.com/en/file-sharing-for-LEAP
“The students are now working hard to meet their deadline on Saturday the 29th, where the results of their project will be presented to the community,” said Prof Bernd Moeller.
He added “They feel highly motivated by the real challenges provided by the International Class project. The good cooperation with the locals and their cooperation partners is a driver for their dedication. As a previous student expressed it: ‘It wouldn’t be wrong to say that international class was one of the best experiences (both professionally and socially) I have had in my life. Those moments will remain memorable.’ That was in 2017 in Scotland. 2020 in Ireland will leave an equally impressive mark on the students, the lecturers believe.”
The project is being facilitated by Astoneco Management in a partnership with Flensburg University from Germany, Loop Head Tourism and the local community development organisations from Carrigaholt, Kilballyowen and Kilkee together with local residents, business owners, and individuals.
The partnership will enlarge as the program advances and as interest is shown. This partnership is part of a larger initiative to combat a population decline of 30% in the Loop Head area, which includes the development of sustainable tourism and a sustainable development strategy under a vision of ‘a place you love to be in’.
Astoneco is partly supported for this project by THE SEAI’s Research, Development and Demonstration fund to help develop responsible renewable energy projects and energy conservation in Ireland.