New Energy Co-operative Launched on the Aran Islands, Ireland
A public meeting in Cill Rónáin, Árainn, has led to the establishment of Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Comharchumann Teoranta.
The Co-operatives aims and objectives represent a model for renewable energy co-operatives, recognising the importance of environmental sustainability, the potential for research opportunities and partnerships and significantly, the importance of the community identifying and benefiting from the highly significant secondary benefits that come from well planned and coordinated renewable energy initiatives.
This energy co-op will be open to a membership from all those who are normally resident on any of the three Aran Islands. It will also be possible for groups, organisations, and corporate bodies to buy membership shares in the co-op provided they are based on one of the three islands.
The new co-op aims to secure the future energy needs of the three Aran Islands by gaining a controlling interest in the local sources of alternative energy production. It seeks also to reduce and gradually remove the dependency of the Aran Islands communities on fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal, including transport) by replacing them with alternative and more sustainable sources of energy.
Locating these aims in a wider social and cultural context , Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Comharchumann Teoranta also seeks to preserve the islands’ unique language, heritage and culture by providing sustainable employment and a sustainable environment for people to live in.
One of the means of maintaining this significant cultural heritage is to ensure sustainable employment on the island. This the new co-op aims to achieve by providing low-cost energy to industry so as to create employment on the islands and by facilitating and at least part-owning initiatives and projects in research and development into sustainable energy.They identify opportunities also to provide education and training to both residents and non-residents in sustainable living.
Very significantly the co-op seeks to make the Islands a model of best practice for sustainability to the rest of Ireland and to the world, using the three Aran Islands as a platform from which to promote sustainability and environmental protection worldwide.
Irish Energy Co-operatives looks forward to working closely with Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Comharchumann Teoranta to assist it in achieving these far sighted and forward looking aims and objectives.