Creggan biomass, hydro and wind schemes can be European model

Karen Healy, fourth from left, Environmental officer, Creggan Country park, pictured with Sarah Duffy and Alma Gallaher, CLAR ICH, Eva Pongracz and Sari Piippo, University of Oulu, Conrad Harley, Mayo County Council, Terry Waugh, Action Renewables, Ewan Ramsay, IRRI, Silva Herrmann, Jokkmokk Municipality and Aaron Kernohan, Action Renewables.
Karen Healy, fourth from left, Environmental officer, Creggan Country park, pictured with Sarah Duffy and Alma Gallaher, CLAR ICH, Eva Pongracz and Sari Piippo, University of Oulu, Conrad Harley, Mayo County Council, Terry Waugh, Action Renewables, Ewan Ramsay, IRRI, Silva Herrmann, Jokkmokk Municipality and Aaron Kernohan, Action Renewables.

A hydro-electric scheme, wind turbine and biomass installation at Creggan Country Park can be a model of best practice for small communities across Northern Europe seeking to turn to renewables in a bid to halt the effects of climate change.

That’s according to Terry Waugh, the deputy director of Action Renewables, who hosted an international gathering of expert partners of the RECENT Project (Renewable Community Empowerment in Northern Territories), who visited the park recently.

Karen Healy, fourth from left, Environmental officer, Creggan Country park, explains the renewable programmes in place to Eva Pongracz, from the University of Oulu

Karen Healy, fourth from left, Environmental officer, Creggan Country park, explains the renewable programmes in place to Eva Pongracz, from the University of Oulu

“It has been an honour hosting the most recent meeting of the RECENT Project partners at The Playhouse and Creggan Country Park,” said Mr Waugh.

“With the project providing solutions for energy recovery from waste water, co-digestions of sewage and biowaste, land-use of digestate and energy efficiency as well as a range of additional technologies for Northern Periphery countries impacted by climate change, we feel the project is providing an incredibly essential service to help rural communities become more self-sufficient.”

Commenced last year, the RECENT Project will develop 24 pilot community energy and energy efficiency projects across five northern periphery countries, with focus on the innovative use of community-owned water assets.

The Derry visit marked the third partner meeting for the project, following a launch in Inverness in October 2015 and a partner meeting in Jokkmokk, Northern Sweden, in March of this year.

The next meeting will take place in Mayo in April next year.

Following the meetings in The Playhouse, guests visited Creggan Country Park, an award-winning water sports, outdoor pursuits and angling centre which also hosts community projects and has implemented a range of renewable technologies including a hydro-electric scheme, wind turbine, biomass boiler installation and turf roof.

A tour of the site acted as an example of best-practice scenarios which could easily be implemented throughout sites involved in the RECENT Project.

Ewan Ramsey, Operations Director, International Resources and Recycling Institute (IRRI), Edinburgh, explained the purpose and goals of the Project: “The European North is one of the areas that will undergo significant changes in the coming decades due to climate change, and the RECENT Project is working to help small communities lessen the severity of these transformations as well as encouraging knowledge exchange to increase awareness and sustainable public policy.

“The Project aims to achieve six deliverables which range from securing 24 pilot energy projects in five NPA countries, to creating an online virtual learning platform and contributing to policy and debate on sustainable community energy at regional, national and European levels.”