Irish partners awarded €3.3m in EU funding for smart grid trials

Irish partners awarded €3.3m in EU funding for smart grid trials
Pictured: Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB; Jerry O’Sullivan, managing director of ESB Networks; and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte

ESB Networks, Intune Networks and TSSG (WIT) have secured €3.3m in EU funding to explore how future internet technologies can be applied to advance smart energy systems.

The funding was awarded under the FINESCE smart energy project following a competitive process with other EU states. ESB Networks said the Irish partners were selected on the basis of the potential savings their projects could deliver to consumers across the European Union.

The funding for two Irish field trials was announced toda by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte.  The Irish trials are among seven field trials taking place across Europe under the FINESCE project.

Within the Irish trials, ESB, Intune Networks and TSSG (WIT) will team up with European partners Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent, Orange Labs, Alstom and the RWTH research centre to test the application of advanced internet technologies and architectures to support smart grid requirements in two main areas. The first will look at how dynamic control of electric vehicle charging can be used to balance the electricity system, while the second will explore how utilities can use advanced optical burst telecommunications switching technology to  enhance the functionality and efficiency of their networks.

“This project highlights Ireland’s leadership in the area of smart networks and demonstrates the potential for Irish innovations to be used to deliver savings and achieve sustainability targets across Europe,” said Minister Rabbitte. “It also shows how through collaboration between academia and industry, we can attract funding to Ireland to create high value research posts and develop future commercial opportunities.

“The Irish trials will use the state-of-the-art technology provided by the Exemplar network, demonstrating the importance of this network as a test bed to advance telecoms research in Ireland,” he said.

Using new technology from Intune Networks and ESB’s advanced fibre optic telecommunications network, the partners will create an electricity network where all sub-stations are connected to one another at the speed of light. This will overcome the data bottlenecks associated with traditional networks, allowing critical time-sensitive electricity network control information to be delivered alongside vast quantities of data from other applications, such as smart-metering.