As Bord na Móna moves from its traditional business of peat extraction, mostly for electricity generation, our main focus is currently on the development of wind farms in order to meet Ireland’s renewable energy target of 16% by 2020. As part of our “Strategic framework for the future use of peatlands”, we will continue to develop complementary uses of the cutaway peatlands around our wind farms. Such potential uses include tourism and amenity, habitats for plants and animals and carbon sinks. We will continue to collaborate with adjacent communities supporting the work of their local clubs and societies.
Bord na Móna set up two community gain schemes in 2014 thanks to the help and cooperation of the communities local to its Mountlucas and Bruckana Wind Farms.
An annual fund, based on the installed capacity of each wind farm, is established and applications are sought from clubs, associations, and other such groups in the locality for support for various community-based initiatives and improvement projects. The combined funds amount to €125,000 per annum.
Bord na Móna administers each scheme and an awards committee is drawn from the local communities. This committee decides which projects are granted financial support. The funding has benefited schools, sports clubs, general amenity, social initiatives, as well as community facilities.
Additional benefits include upgrade of local roads, local employment, sourcing of goods and services locally; as well as rates paid to the local authority. For example, Offaly County Council has received over €430,000 in rates in 2014 from Bord na Móna’s Mountlucas Wind Farm. This money helps the Council to fund the provision of local authority services to the people of Offaly such as upgrading local infrastructure and providing essential community services.