BrightWind Secures €162,000 in SEAI Funding to Develop a New Data Management Platform

BrightWind ( has secured €162,000 in funding from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to support the company in building a new wind and solar resource data management platform.

The platform will be used by researchers to enable them to better understand Ireland’s wind and solar power and thus contribute to the generation of solutions to help reach the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

BrightWind, a renewable energy consultancy firm, was founded in 2015 with a core competency in wind resource assessment, and is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin.

In addition to the platform the funding will support BrightWind in building an open-source data analysis Python library, to enable industry cooperation and research activities through easy access of wind and solar data.

Stephen Holleran, Co-founder and Director, BrightWind, said, “The open wind and solar data which we will gather in the new platform will contribute to research essential for meeting the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan target of 70% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2030.”

“It will do this by contributing to research in wind power forecasting to enable higher penetration of wind on the electricity system and for reducing the uncertainty in long-term energy yield predictions of wind farms.”

The BrightWind project is one of 50 cutting-edge research, development and demonstration energy projects which are receiving a total of €11 million in funding and were announced recently by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD.

Dr Phil Hemmingway, Head, SEAI’s Low Carbon Technology Department said, “The All of Government Climate Action Plan commits Ireland to significant targets and ambitions in the energy sector. Disruptive innovation will be critical for meeting these targets and for achieving Ireland’s medium and long-term decarbonisation.”

“Ireland’s energy system will undergo a rapid, continual and significant evolution during the period 2020 to 2030 and beyond. Projects such as these are at the forefront of knowledge development. I would like to congratulate the teams behind the successful projects, and look forward to seeing the outcomes, which will help to lead us to our cleaner energy future.”

Demonstrating its commitment to climate action BrightWind has pledged 1% of its annual revenue to nature-based solutions for biodiversity loss, native tree deforestation and climate change. The Brightwind team recently spent a day planting native trees at Moy Hill Farm, Co. Clare.

To find out more about the company’s commitment watch this short video:

SuperValu & Centra stores donate over €325,000 to local community buildings


For the 8th year, SuperValu and Centra stores are spearheading environmental change in the Irish retail sector. In

partnership with the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), who provided funding for the community upgrade projects, 13 stores across Ireland have rolled out the Building Sustainable Communities initiative.

This campaign calls on stores to identify and upgrade areas of their own operations which can be made more energy efficient, in keeping with high standards of energy efficiency and renewable energy usage, but also to identify community buildings in their area to donate funds to upgrade their facilities.  The ambitious aim is to reduce energy costs, fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions year on year. This is a huge undertaking of both time and capital, but one which SuperValu and Centra feel extremely passionate about, especially when they see the difference it makes in their local community.

This year the community buildings in receipt of this substantial financial contribution, in excess of €325,000, as a result of the scheme and the stores’ notable efforts included; St. Christopher’s Day Care Centre Longford, Fermoy Rowing Club, St. Joseph’s National School Cavan, St.Benedict’s Priory Cobh and Bandon GAA, to name but a few.

In their clubhouses and buildings these local groups installed new heat pumps and insulation, while some opted for new energy efficient LED lighting. These upgrades put money back into the pockets of these very worthwhile causes, due to reduced yearly energy bills of almost €32,000 or 207,360 thermal KWH savings, and also resulted in better quality and more comfortable conditions for those using their facilities.

The 13 stores involved in this year’s Building Sustainable Communities initiative were:

  • O’Keeffe’s SuperValu Bantry
  • O’Gorman’s SuperValu Kingscourt
  • Davis SuperValu Longford
  • Conolly’s SuperValu Bagenalstown
  • Staunton’s SuperValu Leixlip
  • Smith’s SuperValu Kinsale
  • Garvey’s SuperValu Cobh
  • Dano’s SuperValu Mallow
  • Myers Centra Oscar Traynor Road
  • Herlihy’s Centra Fermoy
  • O’Leary’s Centra Bandon
  • Ahern’s Centra Carrigtwohill
  • Musgrave Marketplace Galway

Reaching new heights with their sustainability credentials this year, a number of these stores installed solar PV panels to their roofs. Not only are these stores now conserving energy through LED lighting upgrades and new refrigeration systems, but they are now creating their own eco-friendly energy to power their store.

A shining example of the fantastic strives being made in their green endeavours is O’Keefe’s SuperValu Bantry. Having taken part in this SEAI SuperValu campaign in previous years O’Keefe’s SuperValu were the first store in in Ireland to have its store refrigeration run off environmentally friendly, natural refrigerants. They also have the lowest carbon footprint possible for a supermarket, with LED lighting and energy saving doors on all refrigeration units within the store. This year they were thrilled to install solar PV roof panels and begin to generate green energy.

Speaking in relation to this fantastic initiative John Randles, Head of Delivery with SEAI commented, “Awareness of energy and environmental issues is now more integral than ever, and in order to create and maintain sustainable communities, each and every one of us must play our part. SEAI works with communities by offering grant support for much needed energy upgrades. This brings businesses such as these energy leading SuperValu and Centra stores, and the broader community, together in a positive way that results in warmer and more energy efficient homes and buildings. As well as these tangible benefits, those involved are playing an important part in protecting the planet for future generations. This project is a great example of businesses reaching out to help organisations in their community and we congratulate all who participated.”

Echoing this statement, Daniel Murphy, Sustainability Manager for SuperValu & Centra commented, “Here at SuperValu and Centra we have an ongoing commitment to creating a sense of togetherness and energy reduction within our local communities.  We firmly believe that this should begin in our own stores. We hope that our contribution and that of our retailers and the SEAI, who we are delighted to partner with, helps all the local groups and organisations involved to generate much needed savings, that will allow them to continue their fantastic work.

“Sustainability is a core value of ours and this campaign is just one example of how we strive for best practice within our retail sector. This year alone we rolled out 100% compostable reusable shopping bags across all SuperValu stores, and were thrilled to be shortlisted for the Energy Team of the Year in the 2019 SEAI Energy Awards, further recognition of the passion and commitment of our dedicated team.”


SuperValu and Centra are part of the Musgrave Group, Ireland’s largest grocery and food distributors. With 220 stores throughout Ireland, SuperValu has served the people of Ireland for over 30 years, and has become a well-established landmark across Irish communities. Centra maintains a reputation for quality, value and friendly service, with bright, accessible stores in over 465 locations throughout the country. For more information on SuperValu and Centra and their fantastic work in the local community, go to and or check out Facebook\SuperValuIreland and Facebook/CentraIreland.

Obton to invest €300m in the Irish solar energy sector

Obton has today announced details of its €300m investment in the Irish solar energy sector. Obton, a Danish solar photovoltaic (PV) business, and its Irish partner Shannon Energy, will develop up to 500 MW of solar PV projects in Ireland over the next five years. This represents an investment in the Irish economy of over €300m at today’s energy prices and will create over 1,000 jobs particularly during its construction phase.

Obton’s significant investment in the Irish solar energy sector was launched today by Anders Marcus, Obton CEO, Mark Foley, Eirgrid CEO, and H.E. Uffe Balslev, Ambassador of Denmark, at an event in University College Dublin. This investment will see around 2,000 acres of farmland converted to the production of renewable energy, helping to deliver the Government’s strategic goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In 2018, Obton formed a joint venture with Dublin-based Shannon Energy. Together they are building an impressive pipeline of solar power investment projects in Ireland and are committed to playing a key role in the transition towards renewable energy.

In conjunction with the investment announcement, Obton and Shannon Energy have also announced details of their first three strategic project acquisitions: the Grian portfolio of solar projects in Westmeath, Longford and Tipperary; the IGP portfolio of projects in Tipperary and Cork; and the Wind Energy Direct solar project in Galway. These three projects will deliver approximately 150 MW of solar power, which would be enough energy to cover the yearly energy consumption of 25,000 homes.

Speaking at the launch event, Anders Marcus, Obton CEO, commented:

“Obton’s vision to create a sustainable future for the coming generations is of highest priority. Through Shannon Energy and our business partners, we are in a great position to do just that in Ireland.”

Commenting on the investment announcement, Noel Shannon, Shannon Energy CEO, said:

“Shannon Energy are delighted to have secured the financial strength for constructing Utility Scale solar projects in Ireland, through our partnership with Obton, and we look forward to securing the licences for our planned implementation in the upcoming Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auctions over the next five years.”

Welcoming the announcement Mark Foley, Eirgrid CEO, commented:


“As the operator of the national electricity grid in Ireland, EirGrid is committed to achieving 70% renewable energy on the power system by 2030. Investments in renewable energy projects, such as the one announced by Obton and Shannon Energy today, are critical to achieving that goal.”

H.E. Uffe Balslev, Ambassador of Denmark commented:


“Obton is an ambitious Danish company with long experience within solar power investment in many countries. I am proud to support their entry into the Irish market and excited about their expected substantial contribution to making Ireland meet the 2030 renewable energy targets of the Government’s Climate Action Plan.”

Minister Bruton Announces Scheme to Reach 70% Renewables

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, T.D. today (Monday the 2nd of December) announced details of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction which has received Government approval.

The Climate Action Plan, published in June of this year, is the Government’s plan to give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future. The Plan sets out actions across every sector which will ensure we meet our future climate commitments. A key part of the Plan is a move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

Minister Bruton said:

“Ireland is currently 86% reliant on fossil fuel. We must radically reduce this dependence and make the transition to cleaner, more renewable energy.

“We are exiting from peat and coal to generate electricity and moving to clean, renewable sources of power, like wind and solar. The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is a flagship Government policy designed to deliver on our commitments to decarbonise our electricity grid, harness our natural resources and bring renewable energy into the heart of our communities.

“Today, I am announcing the details of the first auction under the Scheme. Installed wind capacity has grown by 50% since 2015. This auction could see capacity grow further by 30% in the next three years, with solar and community participation. This is the equivalent of powering up to 640,000  homes every day and will have a significant impact on delivering what we set out in the Climate Action Plan.”

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.

The Government has agreed the proposed elements of the Scheme, which subject to state aid approval, will make up the first auction set to open next year.

  • Increasing Technology Diversity The Scheme will be open to a range of technologies that will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply.
  • Solar The Government has approved the inclusion of a solar category, subject to state aid approval, which would represent approximately 10% of the overall auction
  • Community led category The Government has approved the inclusion of a community category within the auction, subject to state aid approval of up to 30 GWh
  • Community Participation: An obligatory community benefit fund scheme will provide opportunities for communities to play their part in Ireland’s renewable energy transition

The first auction is set to open early next year, subject to State Aid approval and will deliver up to a 3,000GWh increase in renewable electricity generation by the end of 2022.

Community participation

Every project developer will be obligated to contribute to a Community Benefit Fund at a rate of €2 per Mega Watt hour (MWhr) every year. This will generate a minimum amount of up to €6m for communities living in close proximity to renewable projects each year.

The RESS will also mandate that Irish citizens or communities will have access to investment opportunities in renewable energy projects, prioritising those citizens that live in close proximity to the projects. The Minister expects to announce further details on this aspect in the New Year.

Minister Bruton said:

“I am keen that communities where renewable energy projects are being built are included in the project’s development. The Government have agreed to make this a strong element of the Scheme. I am pleased to confirm that work on the establishment of an enabling framework to support community projects and participation is well underway and will intensify in the New Year”

Further information is available on the RESS page on the Department’s website. The draft terms and conditions of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will be published in mid-December for a five-week consultation.

ISEA welcomes RESS Publication

Support Scheme maps out Ireland’s renewables plan to 2030

The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) welcomes the High Level Design Paper on RESS published by the Government on Tuesday 24 July. The proposals furnish positive signals for investment in Ireland across the renewables sector and makes history in providing initial government support for the Irish solar industry.

The design paper sets out a coherent and ambitious program for delivery of renewable energy out to 2030 and highlights the necessity for diversity in the energy mix. This is a key component in achieving energy targets and will deliver value for money for Irish consumers. ISEA also welcomes the proposal that Community will play a central role in the future deployment of renewables in Ireland.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) has advised that ongoing consultation with industry will be required to understand how best to deliver certain aspects of the support scheme. ISEA welcomes continued engagement with the Department to further evolve RESS.

There is more than 1GW of solar PV with planning permission and over 1.5GW with grid contracted or in process, ready to progress with the aid of this support scheme. RESS auctions are scheduled to begin in 2019. ISEA calls on the government to extend the capacity in the first auction to allow more projects receive support on time for completion in 2020. Without extending the capacity in the first auction Ireland is likely to miss its 2020 targets.

“Our members have spent a substantial amount of time and resources in developing these projects over the past number of years. Whilst we await some clarification and further detail, we do see RESS as a significant step in the right direction for the Irish renewables industry. As solar PV is the fastest deployable energy technology in the world, our members are looking forward to the prospect of making a major contribution towards achieving Ireland’s energy targets.” – Michael McCarthy, CEO, ISEA

The document sets out a target of 55% of electricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2030. If this target is achieved, Ireland would once again be viewed as a leader in the field of renewable energy. With the support of RESS, and the imminent SEAI rooftop solar PV grant scheme, the solar industry is expected to generate 7,000 new jobs over the coming years.

ISEA looks forward to working together with all stakeholders; DCCAE, the Commission for Regulation Utilities (CRU), EirGrid and ESB to ensure projects are delivered on time. We would urge the Department to ensure that adequate resources are made available to those tasked with achieving the ambitious targets set out in the High Level Design Paper.

Project Ireland 2040 – Empowering Communities

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., has today launched the Climate Action priority of Project Ireland 2040 “Empowering Communities for Climate Action” at an event in the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin. Building on the 2017 National Mitigation Plan, the National Development Plan prioritises €21.8bn for climate action. This substantial investment will both require, and support, behavioural change in individual and communities across Ireland.

Minister Naughten was joined by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD who all have key roles in delivering on our climate objectives within their sectors.

The event included moderated panel discussions exploring the roles and opportunities for communities in the low carbon transition.

Read the press release
Read Denis Naughten T.D. speech transcript

European co-legislators seal ambitious deals

Following on from a very positive policy victory for the solar sector on the new Renewable Energy Directive, EU institutions have sealed an ambitious deal on the new renewable energy Governance Regulation and the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The future framework for the governance of the Energy Union establishes strong foundations to ensure that the ambitious renewable deal agreed last week will be effectively delivered by European Member States. European co-legislators took onboard SolarPower Europe’s key proposals, setting the scene for a bright solar future in Europe:

  • Member States are bound by linear trajectories to deliver on their 2030 renewable energy targets: 18% by 2022, 43% by 2025 and finally 65% of their national target will have to be achieved by 2027;
  • The EU Commission is empowered to take action if any gap arises towards the collective delivery of the 2030 renewable energy target and can require under-achieving Member States to put in place additional measures at national level.
  • The solar sector can rely on strong provisions guaranteeing long-term predictability for investors, Member States are required to present detailed 10-year energy strategy plans and update them every 5-years. Member States need to submit their National Energy and Climate Plans by 31 December 2018, with final approval by the European Commission by 31 December 2019.
  • Finally, and importantly, the EU Commission will present a strategy for 2050 National decarbonisation plans, building on a “renewables-based energy system”.

The Energy Efficiency Directive represents a turning point in the development of forward-looking regulation, acknowledging the contribution of on-site solar installations to a cleaner and more efficient building stock. This was SolarPower Europe’s major priority in the negotiations, and we are delighted to announce very positive results in this matter:

  • The provisional deal sets a 32.5% non-binding target by 2030 with a revision clause in 2023. This target will be achieved through binding requirements for Member States to deliver 0.8% annual savings until 2030;
  • Measures promoting the installation of small-scale solar technologies on or in buildings can be accounted towards the fulfilment of the 0,8% annual saving target, a major achievement, which will foster the development of smarter and cleaner buildings, powered by solar.
  • The future energy efficiency framework will foster the electrification of key sectors of the economy, creating significant opportunities for the solar sector to scale-up and prosper in Europe. The primary energy factor (PEF) for electricity is set at 2.1, reflecting the increasing penetration of renewable energies in the electricity system.