As part of the RECENT Partner Meeting hosted by Action Renewables in Derry on 13th September, Action Renewables arranged for the group to take a short break to visit the Creggan Country Park. Action Renewables thought that this was an appropriate ‘site visit’ for the partners to see because they have a strong link with the local community and endeavour to demonstrate renewable energy and environmental good practice. A key focus of Creggan Country Park is the interaction with the local community, and the way they can stimulate economic activity in what is a very marginalised area. We were given a very interesting insight to the background and history of the Park, and also to some of the issues and challenges. Many of these challenges have been met and overcome through the help of EU funding. At that point we were taken on a brief tour of the site and given a more detailed explanation of the issues by the Manager, Gerry Quinn.
The location has been early adopters of renewable energy technologies demonstrating innovation and far sightedness. Through a combination of EU funding and governmental support they have had a range of experiences with hydro, wind and small scale biomass. The renewable energy installations have met with mixed success, however both the hydro and small scale biomass is working as efficiently as could be expected. In particular the small scale biomass boiler has been excellent for the required intermittent use with the facility.
One of the interesting aspects of the use of renewable energy technologies has been the linking to education both of school children and the wider local community and through these activities there is community led interest in developing a small scale solar system for use on site.