Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund

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Kerry Wind Power Ltd. a subsidiary of ESB and owners and operators of the Grousemount Wind Farm in Co. Kerry, is proud to announce the commencement of the operational phase Community Benefit Fund. The Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund (the “Fund”) will provide €145,605 each year to the wind farm community for the life time of the Wind Farm which is expected to be 25 years.

For more information select the following pages:

What is the Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund

 

“The ESB Renewable Strategy recognises that achieving a transition to a low carbon economy can only occur through responsible development with includes genuine community engagement. ESB established wind farm community benefit funds with the aim to encourage stronger interaction and engagement with communities living in the vicinity of wind farms and to help the communities neighbouring ESB wind farms to become more sustainable through the support of positive local initiatives and activities. The funds are available to support projects that are aligned with local needs and opportunities such as the purchase of equipment, building or refurbishment work. Support for larger projects over a multi-annual basis may also be considered.  Approximately €1million is awarded annually via ESB’s nominated grant making organisations.”

The Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund (the “Fund”) will provide €145,605 each year to the wind farm community within a defined area of benefit for the duration of the wind farm lifetime. With an expected lifetime of 25 years and including annual CPI indexing the estimated total community investment from the Fund will be over €4.7 million.

In May 2020, ESB. also made available a special Covid-19 response emergency fund amounting to €31,500 as an advance from the annual Fund to communities surrounding the Grousemount Wind Farm to deliver targeted services and support to the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Defined Area of Benefit

Click each zone for more information:

Zone 1

2KM
Zone 1

(a) A 2km corridor along the delivery route from Ballyvourney, through Coolea to the Grousemount Wind Farm site entrance, up through Coolnoohil, the Glen (Morley’s bridge) and on to Kilgarvan via R569.

(b) A 2km radius around the Grousemount Wind Farm site boundary.
Zone 2

10KM
Zone 2

(a) A 10km radius around the centre of the Grousemount Wind Farm.

(b) A 1.5km corridor of the grid connection to Ballyvouskill 220kV Substation (to be reviewed in year 3)

Note: Applications from groups outside of these Zones may also make applications to the Fund. However, such applications will need to be very clear in terms of their impact for the people that live particularly in Zone 1 in order for their application to be considered.

Who Administers the Fund?

The Fund will be managed under the ESB Community Support Fund Control Framework and administered by an independent Grant Management Organisation named SECAD Partnership CLG (“SECAD”) who are based in Co. Cork. SECAD will engage with the local community groups on behalf of ESB.

SECAD’s role in managing the Fund and Process 

SECAD has been working with ESB as the designated Grant Making Organisation for several sustainable energy projects (9 sites in 2014 increasing to 16 sites in 2020), SECAD has a deep understanding of how to establish the most efficient platforms to maximise the impact of these investments including defining area-of-benefit, criteria for eligibility and how to include local communities in deciding how funds should be invested.

At a strategic level, SECAD is working with partners across the EU to develop cooperation projects which aim to explore best practice community sustainability and resilience investment mechanisms including community benefit funding. Through projects such as these, SECAD and partners will have opportunities to explore best practice and to introduce new ideas and thinking to improve our supports and services for the communities involved.

At an operational level we have learned that our independence and objectivity is extremely important. We treat all applicants equally and have a robust and transparent application system, with feedback at all stages of the application process. Our online funding guidelines and application forms are designed to be user-friendly and we are always seeking to improve these.

How to make an Application

If making an application, please follow these steps in order to get started:

  1. Please register here. You must register in order to get a login password needed to get into the application form section
  2. Please login here. Remember you must first register to get your unique password

You’re in! – Best of luck with your application

For further assistance you can watch this short video clip which shows you each step in the process of filling in an application.  Each section of the application form needs to be completed before you can move to the next.

How to get the best out of the Fund for your Community 

Enduring Benefit for the Community

ESB are committed to creating a more enduring economic and social benefit to our wind farm communities as part of the long-term good neighbour relationship. Given the potential of the Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund over its lifetime there is a greater opportunity for the community for more long term, ambitious and enduring development.

In this regard ESB is working with SECAD Partnership CLG (“SECAD”), a local development company based within the region with several years of experience of working with communities.

Through this partnership groups are encouraged to consider projects that will bring about a more enduring economic and social benefit through a more long-term strategic development plan. Including:

  • advice regarding leveraging funding from other sources
  • encourage the development of strategic plans to guide groups in terms of maximising their own capacity to realise high quality and long term impacts from various funding sources
  • encourage legacy projects to be developed for a more sustainable future for communities located near the Wind Farm
  • enable multi-annual supports for high quality, locally prioritised legacy projects

This approach can greatly enhance the overall impact of the Fund in the Grousemount Wind Farm area.

How SECAD can help you maximise your CBF and impact

When we set out with a community to consider how they can maximise the use of Community Benefit Funds we encourage them to look at this as a 20 to 25 year opportunity.  This is a chance to think longer term and to consider a strategy to address local challenges or realise local opportunities.

Isolation:

 

Many of the communities where sustainable energy assets are located are rural, many having lost population and services over the years. Fund raising to try to re-build services is difficult and the burden on the community continues to increase.

Key role of Community Benefit Funds:

 

Public investment programmes into rural development such as LEADER often require ‘matching funding’.  LEADER is a fantastic funding programme, but it is sometimes difficult for communities to raise the ‘matching funding’ required to secure these funds.

And here is a key potential role for Community Benefit Funds – these are ‘eligible’ as a source of matching finance for LEADER and other EU / National Investments.

To unlock this ‘potential’ requires a clear strategy either at ‘project level’ and/or at ‘community level’ – in other words, has there been a conversation about our future as a community, what are we facing in terms of challenges and are we organising to address these in the most effective, smart and most efficient possible way.

SECAD can advise groups of how to maximise the use of Community Benefit Funds and as a Local Development Company has first hand knowledge of a range of local, national and EU Funds.

Creating Legacy Projects through Multi-Annual Funding Awards

Invest in Strategic Planning & Project Management: 

SECAD is strongly encouraging Community and Project Leaders to consider making an application to the Grousemount Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund to bring in the expertise that you need to develop your strategic plan. Having a strategic plan for your project means that you can design a longer term vision of how you would like a project to grow and develop. This is particularly appropriate for large scale events and facilities.  

Developing Legacy Impacts:

 

Community Benefit Funds will not in themselves solve the fundamental issues facing rural communities across the country.  Very often the funds are used in providing basic supports, materials and equipment for a whole range of different users.  These are all important and must be considered in terms of meeting the needs of your community.

Developing ‘legacy projects’ are much more complex and often cost more than may typically be available in terms of the average grant made available through the Community Benefit Funds in any one year.

Multi-Annual Investment:

 

SECAD and ESB have devised a formula whereby projects that are deemed to have a really important role in the community and are central to their future resilience can apply for a ‘Multi-Annual’ award.  For example if a critically important project requires matching finance of say €25,000 for a LEADER Grant and other EU Funding supports of €500,000 – and in this scenario the Community Benefit Fund could only award €5,000 per year for this – however, if approved as a ‘Legacy’ project then the award could be guaranteed to be paid over a 5 year period.  Social Investment Funders such as Clan Credo and Social Finance Ireland can then provide the full €25,000 to the community immediately based on this guarantee – the local Credit Union may also offer such a facility.

Additionally, SECAD has the in-house expertise to explore and develop longer term community development plans to create a vision of the potential for a legacy impact from the Grousemunt Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

The very first Multi-Annual awards for legacy projects developed using this formula were near the Raheenleagh Wind Farm on the Wexford-Wicklow border. Click here for a progress report on the development of the Ballyfad Community Centre located in the Raheenleagh Wind Farm area. Today there are several legacy projects being developed across the country using this SECAD-ESB supported formula. Please follow the attached Case Studies link to see some related examples.

Case Studies

What makes a Good Application?

 
  • Preparation; Do your research. Clearly define from the start what you want to achieve and what you need to achieve this.  Depending on the scale of the project consider if the average grant from the Fund can cover all or part of these costs (contact SECAD with any related questions).  What other sources of funding may be needed and are available so that the Fund might act as ‘leverage or matching funding’ (Contact your Local Development / LEADER Contacts).
  • Review the ‘Fund Guidelines’ and in particular look at the evaluation criteria used to determine how project applications are considered and what criteria will determine if it is likely be funded.
  • Clarity of Content; Sometimes we receive insufficient detail to process an application. – in other cases the project is not well defined. Please do not be shy about using as many words as are required to clarify exactly what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, who are the beneficiaries and what you expect will be the outcome of your project.  Do not sell yourself short and tell the full story.
  • Completion of all relevant sections; Make sure to double check that you have completed all of the sections of the application form properly before you hit the submit button.

Construction Phase Community Benefit Fund (Closed Summer 2020)

 

Since the beginning on the construction phase in 2018 a total Community Benefit Fund of €125,000 has been made available by Kerry Wind Power Ltd. The effect of the Community Benefit Fund to date has been very positive, locally significant and of medium term.

A sample list of the project recipients of grants from the construction phase Community Benefit Fund is presented below:

  • 2015 Kilgarvan Show
  • 2016 Coolea Tidy Towns
  • 2016 Glen Committee
  • 2016 Ballyvourney Day Care
  • 2016 Ballyvourney/ Coolea Agricultural show
  • 2016 Eigse Festival Irish music festival, 25th anniversary
  • 2017 Coolea National School
  • 2017 Ladies GAA Ballyvourney/ Coolea

Further information

For further information please follow the following links:

www.grousemountwindfarm.ie

www.windfarmcommunityfunds.ie

www.secad.ie

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