The Clare County Renewable Energy Strategy 2014-2020 has been incorporated into the Clare County Development Plan following a 4-week long public consultation process earlier this year.
The Strategy outlines the potential for a range of renewable resources, including bioenergy and anaerobic digestion, micro renewables, geothermal, solar, hydro, energy storage, onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.
Mayor of Clare Cllr. Joe Arkins congratulated Clare County Council on taking a "pro-active approach" to facilitating renewable energy development, as well as becoming one of the first local authorities in Ireland to incorporate such a strategy into their County Development Plan.
"The development of this Strategy has been one of the primary objectives of this Council during the past 5 years and complements the ongoing implementation of Clare's first Wind Energy Strategy, which has already been incorporated into the County Development Plan," he said.
Mayor Arkins added: "This new Strategy positions County Clare as a driver for local and regional investment in renewable energy through harnessing the potential of its abundant natural resources. The plan will not only guide the location and development of renewable energy proposals and ancillary businesses, but will also attract inward investment and contribute to helping Clare become a Low Carbon County."
The key objectives set out in the Clare County Renewable Energy Strategy include:
• To maximise use in the County, of the available bioenergy resource to exceed national targets for renewable heat of 12% and 10% by 2020.
• To favourably consider the redevelopment of brown field sites in predominantly industrial / commercial areas for large solar PV projects.
• To work in partnership with the marine renewable energy sector (wave, tidal and offshore), DECNR, EirGrid and other relevant stakeholders to deliver the key actions recommended by the Ocean Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) and Grid 25, ensuring that electricity generated off the coast of County Clare can be exported to the demand market subject to the requirements of all environmental legislation.
• To collaborate with EirGrid over the lifetime of the Strategy to ensure that County Clare has the grid infrastructure in place to maximise its potential for renewable energy generation to meet its own energy needs and to enable export to the demand market.
• To require all planning applications for new buildings to demonstrate how their designs have incorporated energy efficiency or passive measures, as a means of reducing future reliance on traditional fuel sources.
Mr. Tom Coughlan, Clare County Manager commented: "Clare is particularly fortunate to possess considerable wind, biomass, wave and tidal resources. This strategy is designed to maximise the potential of these resources while minimising any environmental impacts, thus enabling the County to achieve a low-carbon economy.”
“The Strategy provides a blueprint for increased economic activity and job creation through value added activities such as manufacturing and research and development. It also will facilitates the development of renewable energy having regard to recent technological advances and importantly, it identifies the imperative requirement for enhanced grid connectivity regulation”, added Mr. Coughlan.
The Clare County Renewable Energy Strategy 2014-2020 may be viewed on www.clarecoco.ie.