First Ignitis Renewables community gathering took place on Global Wind Day

Source: 6/17/2024, Location: Not categorized

In celebration of the Global Wind Day, an international green energy company, Ignitis Renewables, brought together local communities living near wind farms for the first gathering called Good Neighbours. The Global Wind Day is celebrated on 15 June, when the focus is being directed towards wind energy and its significance in the transition to clean energy.

The gathering that took place in Mažeikiai district in Lithuania and was attended by representatives from many communities, schools, and other organisations, from Mažeikiai, Kretinga, Taurage, Jurbarkas, Kelme, Plunge, Jonava, Pakruojis, Pasvalys and Klaipeda districts. They all live near wind farms of Ignitis Renewables that are operational, under construction or development.

“The Good Neighbours gathering is an opportunity to chat and maintain relationships with the communities that live in the areas where Ignitis Renewables is developing its renewables projects. We are going to be long-term partners so it's important for us to make the people understand the importance of renewable energy but also for us to understand their needs, contribute to the wellbeing of their lands, help implement the necessary changes and create a community of communities,” said Emilija Musteikyte, Community Projects Coordinator at Ignitis Renewables.

According to her, the idea to organise a gathering came because we wanted to provide opportunity for people from the various corners of Lithuania to share their experience. “There's a common trait between all the amazing communities that attended – they are living near our projects. However, some have been living like this for years now, and some are still looking forward to the construction of wind farms. That's why we wanted to allow people to hear about their neighbour, Ignitis Renewables, not from our lips, but from their peers,” states E. Musteikyte.

“Additionally, we wished for communities to be inspired by each other’s ideas on how the financial aid provided by Ignitis Renewables could be utilised in improving the wellbeing and the environment of the cities, towns, villages and their residents. This way we can ensure that the wind farms we are building are benefiting the Lithuanian energy sector as well as the people living closest to them,” says the representative of Ignitis Renewables.

The participants visited the Mažeikiai wind farm, measured wind speed, had the opportunity to get inside a wind turbine, learned about how they operate, along with the procedures for implementing such projects as well as having the opportunity to participate in discussions about renewable energy. At the gathering, Ignitis Renewables presented many ways the communities could utilise the financial support; the value created for Lithuania; the inspiring examples, and the community representatives shared good practices from projects that are already completed.

For example, the financial support allocated to Pikeliai, Mažeikiai district, was used to upgrade and adapting the community centre to the needs of pilgrims, and this year they are planning to install smart solar-powered lighting solutions. The Vydmantai community already has such lighting solutions installed. It received the financial support from Ignitis Renewables in 2022. This year Vydmantai are using the funds to build an outdoor class dome and a stage for community and student events. Previously, they had upgraded their school stadium barriers. A public institution, ‘Žaliasis regionas’ (the Green Region), located in Taurage district, is organising educational activities about wind energy.

The event was attended by the Taurage community, whose members shared their experiences about their tours to wind farms, how these operated and ran an education package called Wind is Coloured Green, for the second year in a row. “When the work on the wind farms started, there were many fears, including the impact on cow milk yield, damage to birds, but now we can tell anyone who comes on tours that everything is fine. This programme is funded by Ignitis Renewables and with their help we can introduce other Lithuanian residents to wind energy, helping them to address and dispel their concernss,” said a Taurage resident, educator Irina Sadauskiene.

The Chair of Vydmantai Community, Simas Koncius, also shared the stories about his community on how they manage to live in the vicinity of wind turbines. “It’s nearly 18 years since the wind turbines became our neighbours. Vydmantai are surrounded from all sides by them. I will not hide that the community experienced a lot, including fear, anger, disputes on land, but we pulled through. We were surprised that Ignitis Renewables contacted us on their own volition and offered financial support to the community. They provided a draft financial support project and we started to writing projects on the things what our community needed the most,” said S. Koncius.

“We already had meetings with Vydmantai community and shared our experiences on financial support. We accepted the invitation to submit requests for financial support and now we have premises adapted to the needs of pilgrims, which we also use for communal needs (events, gatherings). The road of Jacob (Camino Lituano) is passing our town and now we can accept pilgrims here,” shared her experience Jadvyga Gedutiene, a resident of Pikeliai, a town in the vicinity of Ignitis Renewables’ wind farm.

Ignitis Renewables expect to make this event into an annual tradition and this year the company planning to allocate record funds to provide financial support to communities, which means that I the future community representatives will be able to talk about even more impressive successfully completed projects.

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