Wicklow communities hosting offshore wind projects will benefit the County says Matthews

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The coastal and marine communities of Arklow, Bray, Wicklow Town and Greystones are in line to benefit significantly from offshore renewable electricity projects, says Green Party TD for Wicklow Deputy Steven Matthews. Under a new framework published by the Minister Eamon Ryan TD, generators of offshore wind will be required to make substantial annual contributions to community benefit funds.

A key feature of the new framework, known as the ‘Community Benefit Fund Rulebook for Generators and Fund Administrators’, is that generators must start making contributions from the early stages of the offshore wind project, i.e., prior to commencing operation. This means that coastal and marine communities could start to benefit from as early as 2025 and could look forward to receiving benefits for up to 25 years in total.

The community benefit fund process has been collaboratively developed following extensive consultation with communities and industry. This has been supported throughout by the participation of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which will be providing a critical role in the monitoring and compliance of the funds. 

Deputy Matthews said, “Towns like Bray, Greystones, Arklow and Wicklow will play a vital role in the development of renewable electricity in Ireland and help us meet our commitments under the Climate Plan. There are many benefits to the development of off shore wind; as well as the generation of jobs and knock on effects to the local economies, the community benefit fund will directly benefit the communities in Co. Wicklow that will be central to realising our renewable energy ambitions.

Even better, is that the decision making on the allocation of the funds, lies with the community itself. There is a rulebook that provides details on how each fund must be established and conducted to be properly representative of the local community, including fishers, seafood culture, tourism, the wider blue economy, and maritime heritage.

“I have had many meetings with representatives of offshore wind representatives, the Department of Trade and Enterprise and the council to discuss the employment opportunities that this growing industry will bring.

“Never has it been more vital that we use our vast offshore wind resource to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply. The development of our offshore wind energy capacity will eventually eradicate our dependence on imported fossil fuels and bring an unprecedented reduction in CO2 emissions for a climate neutral future.”

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