EirGrid, the electricity grid operator will open the Laois Kilkenny Community Benefit Fund with an initial €204,600 available for community groups to apply.
The €204,600 available represents 40 percent of the overall fund and opens Tuesday, November 30 at 2pm.The Laois-Kilkenny Community Forum and Community Benefit Fund were established by EirGrid to recognise the important part that local communities play in the development of the electricity grid and will go to benefit groups and projects in these areas.
EirGrid is proposing to reinforce the network in the general Laois-Kilkenny region and plans to achieve this through the development of a new transmission line between the two counties.
The Laois-Kilkenny reinforcement scheme will address the concerns on the network in the local area and ensure that the system can comply with the grid’s technical standards. This will also ensure a reliable, high quality standard of electricity supply for the present and future needs of all users.
Communities adjacent to the line in Laois include Coolnabacky, Timahoe, Ratheniska, Spink and Ballinakill and in Kilkenny, include Ballyragget, Ballyouskill and Tinnalinton, with priority given to those areas within 3km from the line.
Projects or initiatives which show they will provide benefits to these communities are eligible for funding. EirGrid is inviting projects which address and prioritise local needs, including community infrastructure, sporting facilities, younger person support, cultural activities, older person support, environment, and heritage.
“We recognise the vital role that local communities have in facilitating new grid infrastructure and that is why we are committed to ensure communities benefit," says EirGrid Chief Infrastructure Officer Michael Mahon.
"EirGrid’s aim is to leave a positive legacy in the communities hosting grid infrastructure. I would encourage community groups to work together where there is a potential for collaborative projects which will have a larger impact and lasting benefit to the community."
To ensure decisions on how these funds are distributed in a transparent, participatory and inclusive manner, a fund support and administration service has been set up and is being operated by independent facilitator M-CO. M-CO, who are experienced in collaborating with communities and organisations to design and deliver projects that create vibrant societies, have been working closely with the community forum on developing criteria that meets the needs of the local community and
will continue to work with organisations throughout the application process.
A virtual information meeting will be held on December 7 th next and further workshops and one-to-one support sessions will take place in the new year for prospective applicants. For further information or queries on the fund please visit www.eirgrid.ie/LaoisKilkenny or contact Avril Wilson on firstname.lastname@example.org or Marion Weymes on email@example.com.
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