Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS)
The government changes in policy and processes in developing renewable energy projects has led to a change in the standard approach to energy development.
Natural Forces can work together with communities in a shared ownership model between a Renewable Energy Community and Natural Forces. With the Community Owned Category designed so that communities have the largest ownership of the project we feel confident that partnering with an experienced developer will provide the best outcome and manage the financial risk along the way.
There are two key community groups that are required to qualify as a community project these are the Renewable Energy Community and the Sustainable Energy Community.
One of the key requirements to qualify as a community project is that it be 51% owned by a Renewable Energy Community (REC) . We would envisage that the REC will be made up of a number of community groups and individual investors. The current definition of a REC is defined in the Terms and Conditions of the Renewable Energy Support Scheme and outlined below:
A Renewable Energy Community, as defined by the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS), is a group based on open and voluntary participation, is autonomous, and is effectively controlled by shareholders or members located in the proximity of the RESS project. The shareholders or members must be composed of natural persons, SME’s, local authorities, not for profit organizations, or local community organizations. Shareholders must not engage in a REC for the sole benefit of their primary commercial or professional activities. The primary purpose of the REC is to provide environmental, economic, societal or social community benefits for its shareholders or members for the local area that it operates, rather than solely financial benefits. At least one shareholder or member must be registered as an SEC with the SEAI.
An active and engaged SEC is a key part of establishing a Renewable Energy Community. The current terms and conditions of RESS 1 set out that an SEC must be a member of the REC to enable it to qualify as a REC.
Benefits to the Community
There are many benefits to community who develop a renewable energy generator, these include:
A Community Benefit Fund will be established which sets out that €2 per MWh of generation will go to the fund which will be managed by the REC. This funds can be used by the community over the 15 years of the RESS contract to further the community.
A Good Practice Principles Handbook will be published by the Minister (or a nominated body) prior to 1 July 2021. This will lay out a range of principles, including the need to ensure community participation in fund decision-making via the establishment of a local committee, which should encourage successful dispersal of funds.
Wind energy projects provide many economic benefits to communities including jobs during construction, a new source of revenue for farmers, an increased local tax base and can also create wind energy tourism.
In locations where tourism is an important part of the local economy, a wind farm may be perceived as an enhancement to tourism for those interested in the technology. There is also an opportunity for the community to build awareness and education around clean energy and capitalize on a “green” identity.
Locally owned community wind projects create even more of an economic opportunity for those involved than conventional wind farms owned by companies with limited local ties. Community wind projects have a greater impact in terms of economic benefits because of two key factors: the local ownership and project profits remaining local.
Providing the opportunity for local people to invest in the energy projects will ensure that the profits of the energy project are spent in the local area. For those members of the community who would like to invest financially in the project, they will have the opportunity to do this and be one of first to know of the investment opportunity. Having local investment will ensure that the financial benefits from the generation project will be recycled within the community- time and time again.
Projects & Partnerships
Learn about we create partnerships that last.
Successful long-term relationships demand honesty, commitment, flexibility, and compassion. The values listed below are core to the team at Natural Forces, underpinning our commitment to the fight against climate change, our projects, our partners, and our people.
- Honesty about the facts whether we like them or not. Honesty to ourselves about our own performance. Honesty in our relations with our colleagues and partners.
- Commitment to fighting climate change. Commitment to our projects and partners. Commitment to our professionalism.
- Flexibility to change our mind when the facts change. Flexibility to listen to and accept others’ opinions. Flexibility to change and improve projects through their life-cycle.
- Compassion to our colleagues, our partners, and ourselves. Compassion in all our dealings with external people and organizations. Compassion to the environment.
Project partnerships are key to our success. Our approach to partnerships is rooted in our values, which manifests through:
- Understanding our partners’ objectives
- Nurturing ongoing relationships for the long term success
- Building a common understanding of risk and reward
- Developing a common understanding of financial commitments from each party
Making a true commitment to delivering promised obligations
Natural Forces – Our Experience
Learn about our completed and in development energy projects in partnership with communities.
Natural Forces’ success has been underpinned by a small, tightly knit, highly skilled, and dedicated team of renewable energy professionals. Our multidisciplinary team members have all the required skills to take projects from inception to construction and through their operating life.
We are very proud of our team’s track record, which is rooted in our values of honesty, commitment, flexibility, and compassion.