The Aran Islands are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, off the west coast of Ireland, with a total area around 46 km2. From west to east, the islands are: Inishmore which is the largest; Inishmaan, the second largest; and Inisheer, the smallest. There are also several islets. The total population of the Islands are 1,226 inhabitants (as of 2016).
The Aran Islands wish to join the RIPEET community as they recognise the importance of learning from peers and how that could have a dramatic effect on success or failure. The Aran Islands hope that by building a connection with other similar groups, they can learn what can be done, what should be done and maybe most importantly, what not to do.
Role in RIPEET
The Aran Islands are willing to engage with the RIPEET project and successfully put in practice the skills and lessons learned from RIPEET.
They have already participated EU funded projects and have successfully delivered pilot demonstrators for replication elsewhere. They have also learned a lot about our own energy system, the barriers faced and the challenges to overcome, and this would be an advantage when trying to identify areas suitable for mirroring in RIPEET.
About the region
Local stakeholders which will be involved in the project:
Civil Society: Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árann Teoranta Árainn development co-operative; Inis Oírr development co-operative Inis Meáin development co-operative
Business Sector: The Aran Islands Business Network; Ferry Companies; Aer Arann plane service; Electricity Supply Board Networks (ESBN)
Public Sector: Galway County Council; Gaeltacht Authority (Údarás na Gaeltachta); Sustainable Energy; Authority of Ireland Department of Communications; Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE)
Academia: University of Galway; Atlantic Technological University; Primary Schools and Secondary Schools on all islands
Energy best practices implemented by the region
- Retrofitting has been very high on our list of priorities in order to achieve their goals. They understand that in order to move to renewable heating, an upgrade of the fabric of the majority of homes and buildings on the islands must first be carried out. This is in order to ensure that when fossil fuels are entirely eliminated, no person or home is left behind and would help to ensure a just transition for all citizens of the islands.
- They have also put a strong focus on community engagement and working with local residents to identify suitable, acceptable RE projects that would be welcomed by the community at large. This has been a long process, but one which is vital to the success of their projects. In order to do this, they have engaged continuously with all local stakeholders, as well as other relevant bodies such as the planning authority, DSO, government departments, academia and more. These stakeholders were formally identified during the writing of a Transition Agenda. The stakeholders can, for the most part, be broken down into three categories as with the transition agenda; citizen, businesses, academia and civil society.
- Although not a registered charity, CFOAT have signed up to 'The Governance Code' which is a code of practice set up for charities to follow. There is a heavy focus on transparency within the code which CFOAT adheres to fully. This is to ensure that members of the community can have full trust in our organisation at all times. CFOAT is non-profit, and therefore will never pay a dividend out toshareholders. They intend that any profits made from projects would go into a community benefit fund. The purpose of this fund would be to help the island communities to thrive but supporting employment, sustainability, avoiding population decline and preserving our language, culture and heritage.