Welcoming the Fermanagh Trust’s recently published research report, ‘Maximising Community Outcome form Wind Energy Developments’ Martina Anderson said:
“The research is important and significant for many reasons, but from a local point of view it reinforces proposals contained within Derry’s One Plan.
Ms Anderson explained:
“It is widely accepted that we are entering into the era of peak oil production after which we can expect to see the depletion of fossil fuel reserves worldwide. Derry and the northwest are particularly vulnerable given our dependence on external sources for all our energy and fuel needs resulting in high levels of fuel poverty. We have growing numbers of people, particularly the elderly, faced with the choice ‘eat or heat’ in the winter months.
“The reliance on fossil fuels is also bad for the environment and makes more difficult the challenge of meeting EU climate change targets. Therefore, it is imperative that we become more self-reliant and resilient in terms of meeting our energy and fuel needs by moving away from the use of fossil fuels, towards renewable, greener sources.
“These needs were identified during the development of Derry’s One Plan. Two of the programmes contained within the Plan have a major focus on energy and fuel. And while the Fermanagh Trust focus on the potential benefits to communities of commercial wind farms the ‘One Plan’ Sustainable City programme and Co-operative / Social Economy Model concentrate on the principle of using local resources to address local needs. A requirement that the enterprises created should be co-operative in nature means there is an imperative that they provide a community benefit.
“I concur with Fermanagh Trust’s research that the key to the future growth of wind as a source of renewable energy depends on the buy-in of local communities who have to be convinced not only of the environmental benefits of wind energy but of the economic benefits too. For this reason I support the development of the co-operative model which will benefit communities rather than commercial projects that benefit distant shareholders.
“Given the EU climate change targets as well as the high levels of fuel poverty, wind energy could be a very viable component in a wider energy and fuel solution that would inject much needed funding into the Social Economy and assist in delivering the One Plan for the regeneration of the North West economy. CRÍOCH