A REVOLUTION in the way the county is fuelled might well be on the cards in the coming decades thanks to the success of a Kerry County Council pilot project into sustainable energy.
Kerry might yet be among the first centres globally to break the traditional reliance on oil as a fuel for homes, businesses and vehicles if plans by the authority continue to gather a head of steam.
A radical new vision for the fuelling of Kerry is in its infancy in Tralee and Killarney at present, based entirely on Kerrygrown woodchip to power a number of key centres in its pilot stage.
County Manager Tom Curran outlined the success of the Kerry Sustainable Energy Community Project to elected representatives on Monday, saying that it is currently recognised as a leader in its sector nationally.
The project has seen the construction of a 1MW 'Biomass District Heating System' in the new Tobar Naofa complex. Housed in a special room, the woodchip burner is now providing heat and hot water to the county library; Moyderwell Primary School; the former Moyderwell Convent; 61 local houses and 56 local apartments.
Mr Curran said that on a recent visit to the facility both Dublin councils expressed how impressed they were and admitted the Kerry facility represents a leap on their operations in the area.
The current project is the first step on the road to establishing much larger biomass plants that would provide heat and hot water on a much wider scale in both towns.
"If oil is used as a fuel 80 per cent of the money goes out of the country, while with wood-chip 90 per cent of the money generated stays in the county," Mr Curran said.
He paid tribute to Kerry County Energy Officer Willie Moynihan and Tralee Town Council senior engineer Tim Mcswiney for their work in establising and managing the project.
He said both were now recognised as national leaders in the field.