Airtricity, Ireland’s third largest energy provider, presented €140,000 in funding to west Limerick community groups in the vicinity of its Tournafulla, Dromada, and Rathcahill Wind Farms. The presentation took place at Con Colbert Community Hall, Athea on Thursday night.

Under its Community Fund Programme, Airtricity annually makes a financial contribution to local projects from each of its 25 wind farms operated nationwide by SSE, the country’s largest renewable energy generator.

This year Airtricity’s Community Funds in west Limerick are supporting the installation of modern new electrical heating in residential accommodation in Newcastle West provided by west Limerick St Vincent de Paul; the provision of new dry lining insulation for Athea National School; and a new water recycling and heat recovery system along with new building insulation for Tournafulla GAA Club.

Other West Limerick groups being supported include Athea Tidy Towns, Monagea Parish Hall, Duagh Sports and Leisure Complex and Knockanure Community Centre as well as national schools in Templeglantine, Knocknasna, Glengurt, Carrigkerry, and Abbeyfeale. A total of 26 projects promoting energy efficiency are being supported this year.

Monday’s presentation by Airtricity of €140,000 from its 2012 Community Funds to west Limerick community groups is the largest single annual payment ever made by Airtricity to communities around its wind farms nationwide. It brings the total funding made by Airtricity through its community funds in west Limerick to €450,000 since 2008, when the company commissioned its first wind farm in Co. Limerick at Tournafulla.

This year’s funding is in addition to a €500,000 project completed last October in which Airtricity installed new attic insulation, new energy efficient lighting, and window and door upgrades into 107 homes owned by Limerick County Council. As a result of that scheme, which was completed in association with the local authority and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, each of the over 100 households supported is benefiting from warmer winters and lower energy costs.

In addition to community fund support, this year the company’s qualified electrical technicians at Airtricity Utility Solutions will give their time and skill free of charge to help support some of the local projects. Under Airtricity’s Community at Heart volunteering scheme, technicians based out of the company’s street lighting depot at Annacotty will volunteer to install some of the energy efficient and cost-saving technologies being financially supported by the Airtricity Community Fund.

In Athea Airtricity Utility Solutions technicians will install new energy efficient security lighting at the Athea Voluntary Housing Complex, while in Newcastle West they will install modern and efficient electrical heating technology into St Vincent de Paul’s new residential accommodation units and retail shop.