Supporting Local News

Sceirde Rocks Windfarm to create €70 million Community Benefit Fund

After being selected in Ireland’s first offshore wind auction, the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm has announced plans to provide an estimated €70 million of funding over 20 years to local communities through a new Community Benefit Fund.

The Community Benefit Fund, which will be managed by an independent fund administrator, will help fund community-driven initiatives in consultation with local people across Connemara to ensure that the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm is a force for positive change.

Referring to what he said will be one of the largest ever infrastructure developments in the Connemara region, Consent and Stakeholder Lead for the Sceirde Rocks Windfarm Michael Cloherty said he also believed it can have a transformative positive impact.

“It will bring investment, economic development and job opportunities, along with a significant Community Benefit Fund to support the local community,” he said.

“The Community Benefit Fund will play a pivotal role in supporting community grassroots activities that have an enduring economic, social and cultural benefit, including helping to preserve the Gaeltacht language, culture and traditions which make this area unique.”

The announcement of the fund was made at a community event at the Emigrants Commemoration Centre, Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach, in Carna, last week.

The event brought together representatives of the project developer, Corio Generation, local stakeholders and community development facilitators Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The Sceirde Rocks Windfarm is due to be constructed between 2026 and 2029 and is expected to go into operation by 2030.

The Community Benefit Fund becomes fully active once the project is operational, with early disbursements available to support locally driven community initiatives from the start of construction. In the build-up to construction, the developer will in addition be supporting local initiatives through a separate smaller-scale community support fund.

Following the announcement of the Community Benefit Fund, a community committee will be established to decide how best to allocate funding in ways that most effectively benefit Connemara, in accordance with an ORESS rulebook set by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The committee will be comprised of local stakeholders and experts from a variety of backgrounds who will create a Community Benefit Fund Development Delivery Plan in consultation with community members.

For every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated by the wind farm, €2 will be put into the Community Benefit Fund. Contributions will be made to the fund for the first 20 years of operation of the project and the fund is expected to total €70 million over its lifetime.


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