Galway Wind Park took home a national industry award for its community scholarship fund that sends local kids to college.
The Wind Park took home the opening award of the night for Wind Energy in the Community for Ireland’s first ever wind-powered third level scholarship at the annual Irish Wind Industry Awards.
The scholarship, funded by Galway Wind Park, is set up to support students who live close to the wind park in their college education, and has benefited 40 students to date.
Galway Wind Park is Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm, producing 174MW of renewable energy, and is co-owned SSE Renewables and Greencoat Renewables.
Speaking after the awards, Barry Kilcline of SSE Renewables said “We’re delighted to be recognised as leaders in the wind energy community in Ireland and proud to be supporting students and the local community around Galway Wind Park.”
“We’ve always aimed to have a positive and lasting impact on the communities in which we operate, and it’s great to see Galway Wind Park not only make a difference to Ireland’s climate targets but also making a genuine difference in the local area. “
The Irish Wind Industry Awards are organised by the Irish Wind Energy Association to celebrate companies and individuals who display innovation and originality in the wind energy sector.
In 2019 Galway Wind Park won both Community Project of the Year and Project of the Year at the same awards.
This year’s awards took place at Clontarf Castle in Dublin on Friday, January 24, hosted by broadcaster Ivan Yates.
Yates said that by setting up a wind based scholarship, SSE and Greencoat are “encouraging the local community near the project to upskill themselves in areas of energy efficiency, sustainability, environmental, health, safety and social skills.”
Galway Wind Park became fully operational in October 2018 and is now generating enough renewable energy to power around 140,000 homes, while offsetting over 220,000 tonnes of harmful carbon emissions annually.
In addition to a multi-million-euro Community Fund, the wind park also includes the Galway Wind Way, 48km of onsite recreational walking and cycling trails.
Patrick Maguire Asset Manager with Greencoat Capital said that the aim of the Community Fund is to maximise the impact this project has on local people and communities.
“The Galway Wind Park Scholarship is designed to provide third-level education opportunities for local people to gain qualifications and ultimately build strong careers.”
“We are delighted that the IWEA Awards have highlighted this and we’re extremely proud to have won the Wind Energy in the Community Award.”