Cape Clear Island, Cork County, Ireland

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Cape Clear Island, renewable energy in Cape Clear Island.

Cape Clear Island is the most southerly patch of land in Ireland. The island is hilly with 3 miles or 5 km long. A passenger ferry takes 45 minutes to cover the 9 miles or 14 km distance from Baltimore in County Cork. The year-round population is less than 140 inhabitants, but grows to several hundreds in summer due to some students attend Irish language course in Cape Clear Island Language services. Besides, Cape Clear Island becomes tourist destination. This island attracts walkers, amateur birdwatchers, and the ornithologists who make Cape Clear Birds Observatory during spring and fall. The location of Cape Clear Island in Ireland can be viewed in Figure 1.[1]

Figure 1. Location of Cape Clear Island in Ireland[2][3]

Renewable Energy Proposals
This project came as a result of successful application to the European Commission in 1994 to carry out a study on the island of Cape Clear. It was a part of European Partnership with the North Aegean Islands of Greece and the Isle of Ponza in Italy. The project received 33% funding from DGXVII under the Regional and Urban Energy Planning Program. The work is started in January 1997.[4]

Preliminary Studies
Before the project is executed, some significance studies have been completed. Those studies are:[4]
  1. feasibility study for a renewable energy trail
  2. interim report on energy conservation, recycling and waste management and wind developments
  3. environmental reports on a proposed upgrading of the island's wind energy system

Cape Clear Energy Trail
The aim of this energy trail is to establish new business activities based on guided tours, training courses, workshops and the sale of renewable energy products. The trail will consist of nineteen different renewable applications placed at different locations throughout the island. They are:[4]
  • 2 x 35 KW wind generators
  • Hydraulic wind pump
  • PV water pump
  • PV electric fence
  • PV weather station
  • PV buoys
  • PV refrigeration
  • PV powered security system (holiday homes)
  • PV remote supply for sheds
  • stand-alone PV house
  • PV/wind powered system (based on 20ft container)
  • PV battery charger on boats
  • PV radio transmitters
  • Biomass demonstration plot (10 biomass plants)
  • Thermomax solar heating system on houses
  • Passive solar design on houses
  • Wave energy demonstration
The market would be tourists, education, research, energy demonstration, training, and energy supply. The main types of renewable energy would be wind, solar thermal systems, small hydro systems, and small PV systems.[4]

Work Programs for Cape Clear Project
The aim of the proposed work is to an energy trail on Cape Clear Island. In the beginning of executing the project, the work programs has been delayed for two years. Due to this reason, when the project was implemented, it should be adopted in February 1997. The program was revised at the kick-off partners meeting.[4]

Energy Trail
Five main areas of work programs are wind energy, island energy manager, solar energy, hydro power, and desalination. Those programs are:[4]
  • Wind Energy: a preliminary study of wind potential, technical support to the islanders
  • Island Energy Manager: two people from the island were trained as energy manager
  • Solar Energy: investigation/promotion the feasibility of solar thermal systems on tourist/visitors accommodation, a pilot plant of this solar thermal system would be construct, design and investigation the reallocation of an existing large-scale PV installation, promotion of passive solar to be used in the newer dwellings
  • Hydro Power: investigation of two small hydro power units (e.g. 1 KW) for the school or other installations
  • Desalination: investigation of desalination feasibility in the Irish

Energy Conservation
Some activities done in relation to energy conservation are:[4]
  • all houses were visited by the staff of the council's energy office. They gave free leaflet and advice about energy saving in home.
  • the school children visited the energy office as a part of school tour.
  • the county council assisted the community council to prepare and present weekend training courses on renewable and energy conservation.

Cooperation and Fund Sources
This project of a small island community could be established due to a strong links with local authority, private consultancy companies, suppliers, the EU and European Partners. Regarding financing, there were funds obtained from some sources: Cork County Council, Udaras Na Gaeltachta, Leader, and EU R&D programs.[4]

The project is well advanced. The final report has been submitted to the European Commission in February 2000. The position in April 1999:[4]
  • A solar thermal has been erected on the roof of the national school
  • PV operated: public light on the slipway, water pump, electric fence, lighting for noticeboard
  • 10 Biomass plants
  • 2 x 30 KW wind generators (previously on the island, currently switched off)
During the past two years of the year 1999, a partnership has been created between Cape Clear Island Community Council and Cork County Council's Public Energy Information Office based in Mallow. The aim of this partnership is to develop all aspects of renewable energy and energy conservation in the island. The possibility for various kinds of renewable energy are greater in the island and the preservation of environment and sustainable tourist development should go hand in hand.[4]

Information Related

List of References
  1. Cape Clear Island - County Cork, Republic of Ireland. Accessed April 10, 2010.
  2. Map Ireland. Accessed April 9, 2010.
  3. Cork Map. Accessed April 9, 2010.
  4. Renewable Energy Proposals on Cape Clear Island Cork County, Ireland. Accessed November 21, 2009.