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ESB Wind Farm Community Funds

At ESB, we recognise that achieving a transition to a net zero society can only occur through responsible development which includes genuine community engagement. We want our wind farm investments to deliver long term social, economic and environmental benefits for everyone.

ESB, with its joint venture partners, established wind farm community benefit funds with the intention of encouraging stronger interaction and engagement with communities neighbouring our wind farms as well as helping those communities to become more sustainable through the support of positive local initiatives and activities. The wind farm community benefit funds are available to support projects that are aligned with local needs and opportunities such as the purchase of equipment, building or refurbishment work.

Approximately €1million is awarded annually via our nominated grant making organisations.

Wind Farm Community Fund FAQs

On average a fund will start six to 12 months after the wind farm starts producing electricity, and will run for the lifetime of the wind farm (usually 20 to 25 years).

While there are a few exceptions each fund will open once a year in order to receive applications for funding. They normally remain open for a period of one month.

The following is a full list of all our funds and when they are due to open next:

We utilise the services of a number of independent companies (termed: Grant Making Organisations, or GMOs) to oversee the administration of the each fund from application review to award.

Currently we employ:

The funds are available to not-for-profit community and voluntary organisations for projects which are based in the vicinity of one of our wind farms. These include, but are not limited to;

  • Registered charities.
  • Community development groups.
  • Tidy town committees.
  • Sports, and recreation clubs.
  • Primary, and secondary schools.

We support projects which focus on the following themes;

  • Education and skills.
  • Health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Environment and habitat conservation.
  • Energy efficiency and sustainability.
  • Culture and heritage.
  • Recreation, sport and social inclusion.
  • Tourism*

    *Will only be considered for funding from the Raheenleagh and Castlepook Community Funds.

Suggestions for Schools:

Over the past few years, we have noticed that schools have had difficulty in applying to the Funds as the majority of the received applications would have represented the replacement of statutory funding. With this in mind, and while all of the aforementioned eligibility criteria still applies, we will welcome applications from the following thematic areas:

  • Eco-education projects including environmental and biodiversity.
  • Projects related to the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
  • Creativity and the performing arts, including art, heritage, music, literature and culture.
  • Community amenities accessible to the broader public.
  • Initiatives that encourage outdoor education e.g. edible garden, outdoor classroom, wildflower meadow.

We cannot support:

  • Projects operated by individuals/private sector organisations.
  • Projects which primarily benefit organisations that apply restrictive ‘members only’ conditions to access.
  • Projects where work has commenced prior to application.
  • Projects which directly replace statutory activities/funding.
  • Projects which provide unnecessary duplicate activities/services/infrastructure within the community.
  • Projects which do not directly benefit the local community, and are not deemed as ‘not-for-profit.'
  • Projects where duplicate funding from other sources exists, however match funding is welcomed.
  • Projects which conflict with or adversely affect the aim, objectives or policy of ESB or any other associated companies.
  • Projects which directly promote or advance:
        -any particular religion or faith.
        -any particular political party.
        -any type of hunting or shooting.
  • Projects which seek to purchase/cover the cost of the following:
        -Salaries of core staff.
        -Business plans and feasibility studies.
        -Musical instruments.
        -Trips or visits outside the project area.
        -Funding campaign contributions or costs.
        -Recoverable VAT costs.
        -Routine repairs and maintenance, and/or normal running costs.

The ‘Area of Benefit’ or AOB is a radius of up to 10km around a wind farm, which is set to ensure that communities directly neighbouring our wind farms benefit most from the funds. As such, applications from within the AOB will receive priority over all others.

In order for an application from outside the AOB to be considered for funding it must demonstrate the benefit provided to the communities within the AOB.

Once a year, the Grant Making Organisations (GMOs) will open each fund in order to accept applications. When open, a link to the relevant website will be added above as well as being promoted in local media.

Each potential applicant will be required to;

  • Download the application form.
  • Follow the guidelines, and fill in all sections of the application form with relevant information.
  • Provide supporting information as applicable.
  • Submit the application form, and supporting information to the GMO by email/post.

While requirements largely vary from fund to fund, you may need to submit any or all of the following with your application:

  • A copy of your organisation’s bank, credit union or post office account statement.
  • Two references from a local community representative.
  • Map marked with project location.
  • Quotations are required to verify the value of each item you wish to purchase, as follows:
        Up to €5,000.00 – 1 quote.
        Over €5,000.00 – 3 quotes.
  • For works relating to renovation/construction/refurbishment:
        1. Permission to proceed from land owner.
        2. Planning permission, or a letter of exemption from the relevant Local Authority.
        3. For expenditure in excess of €10,000.00 a current tax clearance certificate mush be available for both the applicant.

Each fund has a suggested award value to provide guidance in relation to what size award to expect. For Example, the 15MW Curryfree Wind Farm has a suggested award value of Stg£1,000.00 - Stg£5,000.00.

The suggested award value is neither a minimum nor a maximum, rather an indication of the scale of resources available annually. Awards may exceed the above suggested values if a project is identified as being of significant strategic benefit to the community.

All applications are appraised by the relevant Grant Making Organisation (GMO), through the use of its internal evaluation committee or an external community committee. All received applications consider the following criteria in varying weights when scoring;

  • Contribution to fund themes, and area of focus.
  • Benefit to the community as a whole.
  • Ability to address an identified community need.
  • Level of support for the project within the community.
  • Background, structure, cohesion and proven capacity of applicants’ organisation.
  • Project lifespan. Does it represent value for money and is it financially sustainable?
  • Level of any / all additional financial contributions secured by the applicant.
  • Proximity of the project to the wind farm.
  • Promotion of environmental awareness and / or sustainability.

In most cases, applicants will be notified in writing of a decision being made within two months from the stated closing date of the Funds.

  • Successful applicants will receive a contract and provisional grant offer letter including a payment claim form and associated guidelines.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will receive a letter informing them of the reasons their project was rejected.
  • Deferred applicants (i.e. in cases where a Fund is oversubscribed some eligible applications may be deferred to a subsequent funding round) will receive a letter informing them that their project has been deferred. The GMO may also request additional information to be provided in order for your application to be reconsidered.

Throughout the project evaluation process, care is taken to assess all applications against criteria in a consistent and equitable way. Applicants who do not agree with the outcome of the application process can write to the relevant GMO to request additional feedback on their application.

Although the decisions made by the GMO evaluation committee / community panel are final and not subject to appeal, such requests enable us to learn, and may inform future strategies.

In order to accept a grant offer all contracts must be signed and returned via post to the relevant GMO within 15 working days of receipt.

By signing and returning, you are agreeing to a number of terms, and conditions which may be contained within the contract:

  • Funding must be used exclusively for the purposes of implementing the project as stated in the application form. Funding for one project cannot be transferred to another project and/or activity.
  • All Contracts contain a closing date after which time your grant offer will become void, generally this is six months from date of issue. If, for some reason, your project has become delayed and will not be completed by the closing date, please contact the relevant GMO immediately.
  • Every applicant in receipt of funding must inform the GMO immediately of any change to their circumstances. Any change must be reviewed, acknowledged and agreed by the GMO where a specific change to the use of the grant is requested.
  • In relation to works of a construction/renovation nature, an engineer’s report must be furnished to the GMO when applying for your grant drawdown certifying the value of the work undertaken and confirming the work conforms to relevant planning, building and fire regulations and other statutory building/other regulations
  • Works completed and or goods purchased must be adequately insured and evidence of same must be available for inspection by funder.
  • Where planning permission is required, the payment of grant aid is subject to submission of relevant documentation from the relevant County Council.
  • Where permission from a third-party is required to undertake the works, this should either be specified in a lease or evidence of same provided in a separate document from the owner.
  • It is important that the work of the Funds, ESB and/or associated companies is acknowledged in any published materials, which relate to the grant-funded project. Therefore, if an application is successful, organisations are required to:
        acknowledge the contribution of the wind farm fund, ESB and/or associated companies in any publicity they might produce and;
        allow and participate in any publicity that the wind farm fund, ESB and/or associated companies might organise.

In the event that ESB and/or any associated company considers an applicant in breach of the terms and conditions, we reserve the right to withdraw the awarded grant and all funding being returned.

Additionally, no future applications for funding will be accepted from organisations/individuals for a minimum of two years. After this period, only if the organisation can provide evidence that action has been taken to strengthen their capacity, which will include evidence of support sought from appropriate support/umbrella organisations.

All grants from the Funds are made retrospectively, as such; monies will only be made available to an organisation upon completion of their proposed project. For grant aid to be paid out, you must submit a grant claims form provided to you and other necessary supporting documentation as stated within the form itself and your signed contract. Incomplete claims will result in delays processing your grant.