Energy hub hopes for Aran Islands

These three wind turbines were erected 10 years ago by the then Inis Meáin co-op as a means of developing sustainable energy on the Aran island.

However, a few years later the co-op, which acted as a management company for the island, collapsed in controversy and the turbines were never used again.

However, the Spirt of Ireland (SOI) project is now one of nine groups seeking to buy them from the liquidator as part of plans to transform the Aran Islands into a sustainable energy laboratory.

The residents have formed local energy co-operative Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Comharchumann Teoranta (FOACT), with the help of SOI, so the hundreds of islanders on Inis Meáin, Inis Mór, and Inis Beag can become as energy sufficient as possible.

Surplus energy from the turbines could be sold back to the national electricity grid — for profit.

However, wind energy is just one element of the overall plan, according to SOI spokesman Cormac Walsh, as they will be encouraging the co-op to subsequently develop an array of alternative energy sources, including biomass, as a source of income for the island.

Rónán MacGiollaPháraic from FOACT said: “Our objective is to make the Aran Islands a laboratory for sustainable energy. This project comes as a sequel to a study and pilot project on Aran by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

“It also will help us to preserve the island’s unique language, heritage, and culture by providing sustainable employment and a sustainable environment for people to live in.”

Under the plans, excess wind energy will be sold to a firm called M Power, which will sell it on to the grid. The turbines are of sufficient strength to supply energy on all three Aran islands.

Dara Ó Maoildhia is one of the Inis Meáin inhabitants who is backing the project.

“This project is a real chance for us to allow the islanders to benefit from the great wind and alternative energy opportunities that we have,” he said.


Lifestyle

This week we had a lockdown birthday party, too much TV and a reminder from Joe Wicks that I’m 53Learner Dad: What I learned from week two on lockdown

It’s amazing what you become thankful for when you go down with suspected coronavirus and enter self-isolation, says Ella Walker.10 things self-isolation makes you really appreciate

Suddenly those Facebook groups are a godsend…Social media can be a true support in isolation – here’s how

If isolation means your locks are already out of control, it might be time to take matters into your own hands, says Prudence Wade.Everything you need to know about cutting your hair at home

More From The Irish Examiner