A New Epoch for Community Renewable Energy Co-Operatives in Ireland? An exploration of the factors influencing their development
Document Type Article
The paper outlines the capacities required for community groups to successfully establish and maintain renewable energy co-operatives in Ireland. The paper finds that community groups that successfully establish renewable energy co-operatives must possess high levels of resilience, have access to technical expertise, and have appropriate finance. It also highlights how it is crucial that at least one member of each renewable energy co-operative engages with state agencies and the community. Pringle’s (2015) theoretical framework applied in this paper focuses on the capacities required for the successful implementation of community renewable energy projects (which include community renewable energy co-operatives) in rural settings. Although this is a robust framework, when applied to Irish communities it may require some modification to detail the capacities required to successfully implement renewable energy co-operatives. Urban communities, particularly marginalised communities, may not possess the same level of expertise as rural communities. The theoretical framework could be broadened to acknowledge the critical importance of the amount of volunteer time that is required to ensure that a renewable energy co-operative becomes operational.