Renewable Energy Study 2011

A Roadmap Towards Energy Neutrality in the 
Clonakilty District by 2020

L-R Ivan Mc Cutcheon, WCDP: Xavier Dubuisson, Delap Waller EcoCo; Peter Madden, Sustcon Ltd; Lisa Cashman, WCDP.

This study was commissioned in 2010 by the community group Sustainable Clonakilty with the objective of developing a Renewable Energy Roadmap towards Energy Neutrality by 2020 for the Clonakilty District. The study by Delap & Waller EcoCo, is primarily about community-scale renewable energy projects. The study provides an overall sustainable energy strategy, which also encompasses energy demand reduction and individual renewable energy systems. Energy neutrality in the framework of the Roadmap is achieved when the renewable energy supplied from within the study area is equivalent to the energy demand of the area.

We consider the results of this report to be dynamic and that they will evolve as technology and economic conditions change.  We welcome constructive comments, which should be emailed to

This report is freely available to non-commercial organisations to be used as a basis for any similar projects.

The key findings of the study are:

·  Current energy demand in the Clonakilty district was estimated at 216 GWh/year, 50% of which is for heating, 30% for transport and 20% for electricity;

·  Total annual energy expenditure in the study area was estimated at over 23 million euro, the vast majority being lost to the local economy;

·  An energy demand reduction target of 30% by 2020 would result in a cumulative saving of 42 million euro by 2020 (c. 9000 euro per household) and an intensive energy efficiency campaign should be set as a key priority for the roadmap;

·  An analysis of the renewable energy resources accessible to the study area reveals that they could potentially cover up to 7 times the current energy demand and c.10 times the energy demand forecasted for 2020.

The renewable energy resource assessment indicates that the RE Roadmap should focus on:

·  using wood fuels sourced from forestry and wood processing within a 50 km perimeter around Clonakilty to produce heat and power, and gradually move towards locally produced energy crops such as willow and miscanthus;


·  using organic waste and grass silage available in the area to produce biogas, which in turn can be used for producing heat, electricity and also as a transport fuel;


·  harnessing the significant potential for wind energy to produce electricity


·  complementing the renewable energy mix with solar energy to produce heat and power.


A life-cycle cost analysis of sample projects based on heat-only and CHP bioenergy technologies indicates that their financial viability is highly dependent on the availability of low-cost primary fuels, long operating hours, the realisation of economies of scale, and on-site heat usage. The life-cycle cost analysis of a typical wind farm projects shows an attractive return on investment on account of the good wind speeds prevailing in the area. Solar PV and solar thermal projects can achieve a suitable return on investment provided significant economies of scale are achieved and that their output is used on site.


This study put together a body of knowledge and dynamic tools that should help understand the impact of key factors on the roadmap, and refine, update and adapt it along the journey towards energy neutrality. An outline, tentative action plan for the implementation of the RE Roadmap, was presented, giving an indication of how this journey might look.


The benefits of implementing the RE Roadmap will be outstanding. Over 40 million euro in energy costs will be kept within the local economy and can be reinvested into the community’s own energy infrastructure. A total investment in excess of 80 million euro in this infrastructure would provide a return on investment of circa 25 million euro over a period of 20 years and support the creation of in excess of 360 jobs. The Roadmap will position the Clonakilty district as a hub of ecotourism and a centre of excellence in community-based, bottom-up sustainable energy development. In addition the supply of energy to the area will be within our own area of influence and not dependent on less stable distant sources.”


This project was  supported by the West Cork Development Partnership under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.

The Full Report is attached at the end of this article.




Energy Roadmap (PDF)
Energy Roadmap (PDF)
4.3 MiB