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Back to Press Releases 03 April 2018

ESB Networks to launch its Dingle Project to chart Ireland’s future electricity network

  • Project to examine the impact of renewables, battery storage and greater use of electricity for heat and transport

3 April 2018

ESB Networks has this morning launched a major project in Dingle which will see the company deploy a range of technologies which will future proof the electricity network for the benefit of homes, farms and businesses on the Dingle Peninsula. The findings from the project will in turn help ESB Networks deliver an electricity network to facilitate Ireland’s transition to a low carbon future.

Nationally, ESB Networks will spend  €4.8bn in capital and operational investment up to 2020, and has chosen Dingle as a pilot location to help to understand how evolving technologies will interact on the electricity network of the future.

With over 4,700 homes, farms and businesses on the peninsula, Dingle will be at the heart of many smart network research projects and trials to see how best ESB Networks can facilitate all of the new demands on the national network that is most efficient in the coming decade.

The technologies being  tested are intended to meet the challenges of the future energy system, such as accommodating additional renewable power sources and the electrification of heat and transport, sectors which currently account for over 35 per cent of total emissions. The company is currently undertaking a transformation of the electricity network to allow for the connection of 300,000 electric vehicles and 330,000 homes to be heated by electricity by 2030.

Managing Director of ESB Networks Marguerite Sayers says the project’s findings will chart a course for how Ireland’s electricity is produced, distributed and consumed in the decades to come: “It is a great pleasure to be in Dingle this morning to launch this project. Tackling climate change is one of the defining challenges of this generation and low-carbon electricity is increasingly seen as central to any solution. The Dingle Project will examine how ESB Networks can best deploy a range of new technologies to help lead Ireland’s transition to a brighter energy future. We are grateful to the people of Dingle for the great welcome and interest we have received so far, and are hopeful that they will see the benefit of our projects over the coming years. ”

Deirdre de Bhailis, Manager of the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub, where the ESB project staff will be based for the duration of the project,  says that the project will help place Dingle and the surrounding area at the centre of solutions to the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change. “As electricity will be a significant part of the transition to a low carbon future, we welcome the decision by ESB Networks to engage with the people of the Dingle Peninsula and to explore how best the transition to a low carbon future can be facilitated.  There will be opportunities for the community to learn about what is involved in the transition and help influence that transition.  As a community, the people of the Dingle Peninsula have always been open to innovation and our community will embrace this opportunity to help chart a pathway for Ireland’s low carbon future – one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.”

These trials are expected to provide valuable insights, given the Dingle population ebbs and flows through the course of the seasons, so the variation in electricity load places particular demands on the network on the peninsula. The network on the peninsula is also subject to the extreme weather occasionally posed by the Atlantic Ocean, which is also valuable in testing the resilience of any new technologies.