Victory Luke, Climate Ambassador for SSE Airtricity
This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Invest in Our Planet’ and it encourages businesses, governments and citizens around the world to invest in our planet. Investing our time and care is one crucial aspect that can be kept in mind when thinking of ways to engage with this year’s theme. At SSE, great strides have been taken in investing as much as possible into the planet. SSE has committed to reducing day-to-day emissions by investing in ‘greener grid technology’ – reducing the harmful use of "SF6" produced by electricity. There can be no forgetting of course, the ambitious Wind Farm projects that have contributed to Ireland’s bid to generating cleaner and greener renewable energy.
At SSE, we believe that this day provides a special opportunity to challenge ourselves to make more green choices in our lives, workspaces, communities and homes. Earth Day presents a unique opportunity to celebrate our beautiful planet but also to reflect on how we can keep our climate goals front of mind.
If we look at Ireland’s government’s ambitious climate goals, companies like SSE are supporting with the provision of environmentally positive solutions for homes and businesses. As the pioneers of wind energy, SSE is now innovating to provide solutions that will not only power homes and businesses, but also make them sustainable for the future. These solutions include everything from Solar PV and microgeneration to EV infrastructure for homes and businesses. With a target of net zero by 2050 in Ireland, renewable energy goals and climate impacts are the top priority, and the teams at SSE are helping to build a grid that unlocks greater renewable electrification in our communities and ultimately supports a just and environmentally conscious path to 2050.
This year’s Earth Day theme resonates with the SSE team, with many of the team focusing on investment in infrastructure and projects that will make it easier for homes and businesses to leave less of an impact on the environment.
For example, SSE is now entering phase two of its ambitious Arklow Bank Wind Park project. SSE is planning to invest up to three billion euro to develop this wind park to its full potential. The project hopes to extensively increase power generation output from up to 800MW. As a result, Arklow Bank Wind Park will be able to make a significant contribution to Ireland’s climate action target of at least 7GW by 2030, and to Ireland’s national and local economy.
On 15 March 2023, SSE announced a 2.5 million euro donation to support 10,000 fuel-poor homes in partnership with EnergyCloud. The project aims to enable thousands of families in fitting their homes with smart technology that utilises surplus renewable energy to heat water, for free.
Klair Neenan, Managing Director of SSE Airtricity said at the announcement:
"SSE Airtricity has been working with EnergyCloud since its foundation, recognising the innovative role that it plays in supporting fuel-poor households. At SSE Airtricity, we are committed to helping those who need it most and we’re delighted to be expanding our support for EnergyCloud, helping to provide much needed relief to homes across Ireland who are experiencing fuel poverty while also delivering a more sustainable use of green energy for the future."
Furthermore, on the 18 November last year, SSE announced plans to develop a nation-wide EV (Electric Vehicle) charging network.
There are many ways to show our own personal investment into our planet – big or small, every action counts. For some people, that could include paying a visit to the botanical gardens to be reminded of the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Another way could include getting more involved in reducing plastic usage and waste. No matter what, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a special day to acknowledge and appreciate the world around us – however you want to celebrate, that is up to you!
Biodiversity at Galway Wind Park
Students across the country will most likely be participating in classroom activities and information sessions on the importance of caring for the planet. College students will most likely be looking for ways that their institutions can take more action in leading change. I personally look forward to engaging with other students on my campus in discussions, panel talks and fun activities such as ‘Green Swap’ – where students trade their hand-me-downs and old loved goods. How will you celebrate Earth Day?