Representatives from Mullingar SEC, Jack O’Sullivan, Oisin Murphy, Joe Palmer, Isabella Donnelly, Gerard Keena, Anthony Palmer, Anna Browne, and Community Power at the community-owned Templederry wind turbine in Tipperary on a recent visit.

COLUMN: Mullingar Sustainable Energy Community

This is the first column in a new series by the Mullingar Sustainable Energy Community to share news and information about renewable energy, climate change and biodiversity, along with practical tips each month about how you can save energy while saving money too.

Climate change is the single biggest threat facing us in our time and the government has declared both climate and biodiversity emergencies, which need decisive responses.

Clear targets have been set by governments around the world to reduce carbon emissions in order to prevent the Earth from warming by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

In Ireland, our target is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. These are ambitious targets and will require huge efforts by government, businesses and individuals if we are to achieve them.

The Mullingar Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) was formed in 2018, supported by Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, with the objective of encouraging the community to become more energy efficient and to source renewable energy where possible. The vision of the Mullingar SEC is to turn the area into a zero-carbon community.

There are sustainable energy communities in every county in Ireland and more are being established all the time. There are 16 SECs in Westmeath supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Mullingar: Decarbonisation Zone for Westmeath

In 2019, the government published its Climate Action Plan, under which every local authority had to nominate a town or townland to be their decarbonising zone (DZ) – an area in which a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures and action owners are identified to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets.

Mullingar is County Westmeath’s DZ, and that means over the coming years, a range of different carbon reduction and energy efficiency measures will be trialled in Mullingar to see what works best and can be rolled out to other areas. This will be good for everyone because we will all be spending less on energy.

The Mullingar SEC will be doing its part to help. Already we have two projects on the go. The first is an energy audit of the town and the second is the development of a 5MW solar farm on the site of the former landfill at Marlinstown, outside Mullingar.

Mullingar Energy Audit

With funding from the SEAI, the energy audit will provide valuable insights into how Mullingar can become more energy efficient.

As part of the process, Mullingar SEC is offering free energy audits for home owners and business owners in the town so they can begin their journey towards greater energy efficiency.

For more information on how to avail of an energy audit of your home or business premises, check out the Mullingar SEC website at

Mullingar Community Solar Park

The feasibility of a 5MW 100% community-owned solar park, located on the former municipal landfill site at Marlinstown, to the north of the town, is currently being explored. A solar farm of this size could potentially provide power to approximately 1,500 homes and will potentially prevent over 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere every year.

The project is at the early stage of development and further steps will include testing its feasibility, consulting widely with the local community, seeking planning approval and securing the necessary funding to develop it.

If the project goes ahead, it will be Westmeath’s first 100% community-owned renewable energy project and will represent a huge step forward for Mullingar in securing its energy future and lowering the town’s carbon footprint.

Trip to Tipp

Last month, the Mullingar SEC joined a number of other SECs from the midlands to see first hand a community-run wind farm in Templederry, County Tipperary. The trip was hosted by Community Power (, who explained how the community in the area came together to invest in the first community owned wind turbines in Ireland.

The Mullingar SEC was delighted and inspired to hear how Community Power overcame numerous hurdles to successfully open the two turbines almost 10 years ago. The group then enjoyed a delicious solar-powered lunch provided by the community-owned cafe in Loughmore.

Some energy saving tips

Turn down your thermostat. If you turn the thermostat down by just one degree, you can reduce your heating bill by 10%. The thermostat for your living or working area should be set at 18-20°C, while hallways and bedrooms can be cooler, ideally 15-18°C.

Defrost food slowly in the fridge rather than in the microwave.

Given that Mullingar has such a great range of greenways, as well as a new public bikes scheme, start cycling to school and work where possible, instead of driving.

For more information see: or if you would like to join Mullingar SEC please email