At FuturEnergy Ireland, we have an important role to play in the transformation of Ireland to a carbon neutral economy.
To make this happen, we are constantly looking at ways to push ourselves that little bit further to find new solutions, adopt cutting-edge technology, refine our working practices, build relationships with local communities and respect the natural environment.
Innovation is at the very heart of what we do.
At FuturEnergy Ireland, we don’t just think about what technology the power system requires today. Our team is always trying to look to the future and understand the solutions we will require if we are to deliver a fully decarbonised power system.
Some of the key challenges we foresee are:
- Grid capacity Sometimes we have more wind energy available in a region than the electrical lines are able to carry.
- Oversupply In the future we expect the amount of available wind energy will exceed our demand for electricity for many hours in the year.
- Clean, stored power, ready to go There will be times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, and we will need a source of clean dispatchable power to fill these gaps.
Our team is exploring the potential of new and emerging low-cost, long-duration energy storage technologies to help address these issues.
Long-duration storage technologies can absorb excess renewable energy for continuous periods of many hours or even days and store this for later use at times when the wind isn’t blowing.
This is an exciting and progressive project that will go a long way to address Ireland’s energy needs. We look forward to sharing more on our energy storage technology solutions as they develop.
Our recreational offering
As part of our ethos, we investigate the potential for new recreation, or enhancing existing recreation, with communities local to a proposed wind farm development who would like to see this happen. This depends on site suitability and community feedback and is assessed on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with all stakeholders.
The FuturEnergy Ireland team was involved with setting up a recreational amenity at Sliabh Bawn Wind Farm in Co Roscommon, which is popular with both locals and tourists alike. In 2021, the wind farm welcomed more than 30,000 visitors.
As part of our core recreational offering, we explore the following options on a project-by-project basis:
- Parking for ease of access
- Upgraded tracks and trails
- Waymarked looped trails
- Educational boards highlighting points of historic and cultural interest
- Biodiversity areas
- Viewing points
- Picnic areas
The opportunity to create a recreational space on our wind farms is exciting and there are many avenues to explore. If this is of interest to the local community, we would encourage members to work with us and help to inform the design.
The Hare's Corner Project
FuturEnergy Ireland is proud to sponsor The Hare’s Corner, an initiative that offers landowners practical support to enhance biodiversity on their land through the creation of habitats such as ponds, native orchards and mini woodlands.
The project, which is run by the BurrenBeo Trust, launched as a pilot programme in Co Clare in 2021 with support from The Department of Agriculture, Clare County Council and NPWS.
The term ‘Hare’s Corner’ comes from an old rural expression to describe small, ‘awkward’ sections of a field –corners, slopes, wet patches -which were difficult to manage and so were ‘left to nature’, a welcome sanctuary for hares and other wild plants and animals.
The Hare’s Corner is a simple way to help farmers and landowners address the climate and biodiversity crises without a lot of extra work or footing the bill. The transformation of these pockets of land improves farmland biodiversity and increases our resilience against climate change, for example by providing shade and water for cattle at times of drought and by improving water quality.
We are looking forward to providing funding for Hare’s Corner projects in Co. Clare in 2023. We all need to play our part in addressing climate change and every little helps. If you would like to take part in the initiative or for more information, please visit https://burrenbeo.com/thc/
National school climate classes
Schools Pollinator Project
FuturEnergy Ireland is sponsoring the Wind Energy Ireland Schools Pollinator Project.
This pilot scheme is running in selected secondary schools for TY woodwork students, who will build solitary bee nest boxes according to The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. The module will be led by our local Community Liaison Officer and it includes a visit to a local wind farm.
Our first school to take part is McEgan College in Macroom, in partnership with our Ballinagree Wind Farm proposal. We’re looking forward to seeing the results!
Renewable Energy & You
In 2021, we launched 'Renewable Energy & You', an educational programme in areas where we have live projects. This involves our Community Liaison Officers offering an interactive presentation geared towards Transition Year students and with an emphasis on the new ‘climate jobs’ market. This may also be accompanied by a trip to a wind farm.
"Many thanks for delivering an excellent presentation to the girls and for organising our visit to the wind farm. The girls truly loved it."
Teacher at Macroom Convent of Mercy