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Networking in Dingle

Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon society will have an impact on the way we live our lives – from heating our homes, to how we get around and how we generate and use electricity. At ESB Networks, we are enabling change in our electricity distribution network, to make it more resilient, grow its’ capacity and make it more adaptable so that we can empower communities across Ireland in their energy use. 

In a unique initiative, ESB Networks teamed up with a west Kerry community in 2018 and launched the “Dingle Project”. The €5 million, three-year project was set up to trial clean-energy technologies and assist in the design and development of a smart, resilient, low-carbon electricity network. 

The Dingle Project involves the deployment of a range of renewable, low-carbon technologies such as solar PVs, air-source heat pumps, battery management systems, electric vehicles and smart EV chargers. Five local ambassadors were selected to trial the technologies, along with 10 Electric Vehicle Ambassadors and 20 Solar PV Champions – each reporting back to ESB Networks and their wider community on the experiences of the renewable energy technologies.  

To date, the project has seen the installation of 25 solar PVs, five battery management systems as well as the retrofitting of three homes and the installation of five air-source heat pumps. We also have 17 Electric Vehicles and 15 Smart EV Chargers on the peninsula and installed 35 Energy Monitoring Devices in our trial participants homes. 

The Power of Partnership 

The Dingle Project demonstrates the power of partnership and collaboration. While the Dingle Ambassadors benefit from transitioning to low-carbon technologies, ESB Networks is also gaining valuable experience by working collaboratively with local communities and the Dingle Peninsula 2030 Stakeholder Group. This collaboration enables ESB Networks to gain insights into how customers interact with these new energy systems and enables us to see the real and live impact of these technologies on Ireland’s  electricity network.  

Electric Vehicle trial 

Whilst the Dingle Project has demonstrated that people are eager to start their low carbon journey and become active energy citizens, the ultimate aim of the project is to help inform the development of Ireland’s future electricity network. The project will provide ESB Networks with invaluable insights on the impact the electrification of heat and transport will have on the network.   

The latest element of the Dingle Project is an Electric Vehicle (EV) trial. From hundreds of applications, ESB Networks has chosen 15 local Ambassadors from a cross-section of the community, including busy parents, small business owners, an artist, a journalist and a teacher to trial an EV for a one-year period. 

There are also two Electric Vehicles being made available to the broader community, on a managed basis – so that they too can enjoy the EV experience. 

By carefully selecting the participants, understanding their requirements, behaviours and motoring needs, ESB Networks aims to understand the impact that the projected increase in EV charging requirements and use of smart charging technologies will have on the electricity distribution network. These learnings will help inform the design of the electricity network, ensuring it can support the wide uptake of electric vehicles in all communities across Ireland expected by 2030.

Network of the Future 

Ultimately, the Dingle Project will allow ESB Networks to trial innovative technology solutions and how we use them, to help determine how best to design the low-carbon electricity network of the future. The community, in turn, benefits from a more resilient and reliable network while developing a greater understanding of clean energy enabling technologies.  

As well as this, the technologies being trialed on the network in Dingle will also help minimise the occurrence of faults on the network and in those instances when faults do occur, it will help speed up the fault resolution by better pinpointing the direct locations of such faults.  

For ESB Networks, the Dingle Project is not only a technical exercise in testing its physical network and capabilities, it is very clear that the challenge of enabling a low-carbon Ireland – powered by clean electricity – cannot be delivered without extensive engagement and collaborative innovation with a broad range of stakeholders. The key to the success of the Dingle Project is buy-in and participation from the local community. In total there are 35 homes, farms and businesses which have actively participated in project trials.  

ESB Networks, in partnership with communities, is helping put Ireland on the road to a low-carbon future. 

For more information visit www.esbnetworks.ie/dingleproject


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