Europe looks to ‘lighthouse’ Limerick to lead way in tackling climate change with new pilot programme

Ryan O'Rourke


Ryan O'Rourke


THE rest of Europe will be looking to Limerick as the city prepares to become one of two EU ‘lighthouse’ cities that have been selected for a major climate-change pilot programme

The programme hopes to be used as an example to the rest of Europe on how to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of urban areas.

Launched by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. at the Georgian House, Pery Square, the EU CityxChange programme sees Limerick, parred with Trondheim in Norway to roll out the project.

The programme is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme in the call for ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ and is led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Limerick’s selection for the project will see the ‘Georgian Neighbourhood’ in the heart of the city become a testbed for data collection and a range of new technologies that will transform it into a positive energy city centre where it creates more electricity than it uses.

Said Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Adam Teskey, “This is a very proud day as we embark on another new and great Limerick journey and possibly among our greatest. Today we officially begin a programme here in our stunning Georgian core that, together with Trondheim in Norway, will help define how urban areas in the EU become positive energy cities.

“We must believe in our ability to tackle climate change and, if we do, in years to come, Europe will be able to look back and say that much of this started in two cities, one in Norway and the other in Ireland – Limerick.”

Launching the project, Minister Bruton said: “I have set the ambition for Ireland to become a leader in Climate Action and today Limerick is becoming an EU leader. Positively managing energy is pioneering thinking from Limerick City and I hope that this programme will influence our other cities and towns to do the same.

“The Government’s Climate Action Plan has set a target for 70% renewable energy by 2030 and it is only through ambitious programmes like +CityxChange that this will be achieved. Since the foundation of the state the midwest region has been to the forefront of renewable energy with the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Power Station and I commend Limerick City and County Council for continuing that tradition today.”

Said project coordinator Dr Mihai Bilauca of Limerick City and County Council, “Climate change is everywhere and everyone has a role to play in this. From a Limerick perspective, we are really proud to have been selected for what is a revolutionary EU programme that will transform the Georgian neighbourhood into positive energy district, a district that creates more energy than it consumes. In turn, this will give a lead to other cities across Europe and beyond as to how to play their part in tackling climate change.”

“This is a huge opportunity for us because Limerick will become the example on how to transition from the traditional energy market of large and few energy generators, especially those harmful to the environment, to the new model of many micro-generators of clean energy. The micro-generators in this pilot programme will be the people and the building owners in the Georgian neighbourhood.”