An international green energy company, Ignitis Renewables, is continuing the cooperation with local communities located near the wind farms and solar parks managed or developed by the company. In three years, the company has allocated more than EUR 1 million for Lithuanian communities in financial support. The funds are allocated to communities developing important project in areas of economy and mental wellbeing, cultural diversity and identity as well as environmental protection.

“Our renewable energy projects create conditions for sufficient green energy supply and contribute to national energy independence. These projects cannot be implemented without the cooperation with local communities, they must built on trust and good will. Financial support for projects important to local communities allows us to strengthen local communities, create additional value to Lithuania, contributes to the environmental protection of the land we operate in, promoting cultural diversity and identity,” believes Thierry Aelens, CEO of Ignitis Renewables.

Financial support surpassed a million

According to Emilija Musteikytė, Community Projects Coordinator at Ignitis Renewables, communities are becoming more and more involved in utilising the financial support and in three years the amount of funds allocated to Lithuanian communities has already exceeded EUR 1 million.

In 2022 Ignitis Renewables invited communities to submit applications to receive financial support for the first time. It was provided to 9 organisations with over EUR 80,000 allocated. Last year it received 10 applications and all of them received financial support. The total allocated amount was three times higher and reached EUR 247,000. This year the amount dedicated to Lithuanian communities is once again growing several times and will reach EUR 757,000.

“We want these funds to bring maximum value to the communities and Lithuania, which is why this year we invited communities to the Good Neighbours gathering. The goal of the event was to gather the representatives of communities, encourage them to share their experience, listen to their expectations, tell them about the projects we develop, their impact on the environment and our efforts to reduce it,” says E. Musteikytė.

This year several communities are eligible to apply for financial support, including the communities in Kelmė, Kretinga, Mažeikiai, Jurbarkas and Tauragė with wind farms and solar parks managed or developed by Ignitis Renewables nearby.

The goal is to strengthen local communities

Community organisations may apply with four kinds of projects: economy and mental wellbeing-related, cultural diversity and identity-related as well as environmental protection-related.

An economic wellbeing project may include the funding of infrastructure, upskilling, entrepreneurship and tourism promotion projects, including various training activities. A project of the community of Pikeliai is one of the projects that have already received funding. It was for adapting the infrastructure in Mažeikiai district to the needs of pilgrims. Additionally, Lauksargiai community carried out an education programme called the Wind is Coloured Green.

A good example of a project promoting cultural diversity and identity could be the purchase of national Lithuania Minor costumes by the residents of Lauksargiai. Projects involving the creation or adaptation of infrastructure, art installations or other cultural events, the development and installation of sites, routes and memorials may also receive funding.

Environmental projects may include the purchase of equipment for land management, funding the protected species conservation activities, habitat maintenance, activities of specialised clubs or organisations, etc.

The funds may also be provided to the projects that promote mental wellbeing, including projects to help families with children with special educational needs, healthy eating and movement, mental resilience trainings, etc.

Two months to submit applications

“We understand that some community organisations do not have knowledge or experience of drafting a project, so we are trying to help them, show the opportunities, we can also finance the costs of drafting a project,” says E. Musteikytė.

The communities that are eligible to receive financial support may apply from 1 July to 25 August.

Financial support will also be provided to Polish and Latvian communities

This year, for the first time, the financial support will be provided to the communities located near the solar parks of Ignitis Renewables in Latvia (EUR 200,000) and to provide scholarships to students who choose energy studies (EUR 40,000).

This is the second year that the company is providing financial support to communities near projects in Poland. In 2023, the financial support (over EUR 100,000) was provided to communities for wind energy education, first aid training, outdoor workshops, health hikes and the installation of solar power plants. This year, financial support in the amount of EUR 200,000 will be allocated to communities located near Silesia wind farm in Poland.