ESB Networks’ Projects

Research and Development

As part of our focus on being at the forefront of the future of electricity networks, we are actively involved in a number of innovative research and development projects.

ESB Networks is part of an EU funded collaborative project called evolvDSO. The project focuses on the evolution of the Distribution System Operator (DSO) role and the development of future markets and tools. Involvement in this project positions ESB Networks and Ireland at the forefront of shaping future European policy on Smart Grids.

The project aims to define the future DSO function based on scenarios driven by different Distributed Renewable Energy Sources (DRES), penetration levels, various degrees of technological progress and differing customer acceptance patterns.

The project addresses the main research and technology gaps for DSOs to efficiently fulfil their future roles in the European electricity system.

The project has 16 international partners including University College Dublin. It commenced in September 2013 and will conclude in December 2016.


We are participating in an EU funded project called PlanGridEV. This project aims to develop planning tools and methods for Distribution System Operators (DSO's) for the roll-out of electric vehicles while maximising distributed energy resources integration.

One of our key roles is to complete a demonstration trial on the Irish electricity network. This involves a real-life validation of the tools and methods developed in the project.

PlanGridEV is an EU Framework Programme 7 collaborative project. It comprises 12 partners including leading organisations from the European energy and automobile sector (DSOs, OEMs), research institutions and engineering consultancies. This three year project will be completed in February 2016.

RealValue is the latest EU funded research and development project in which ESB Networks is involved.

The project focuses on improving efficiency and delivering value across the European energy market through the use of advanced information and communications technology. RealValue is directed at small-scale energy storage using Smart Electric Thermal Storage (SETS) and involves real-world implementation and testing in 1,250 homes in Germany, Latvia and Ireland.

As part of this project, we are installing advanced metering and next-generation monitoring solutions to analyse system performance and the effects on the electricity network.

This Irish led project is funded through the Horizon 2020 funding mechanism. The consortium consists of 12 partners and encompasses the entire energy supply chain, including many of the key organisations in the Irish energy sector. It commenced in June 2015 and will conclude in 2018.


In August 2015 ESB Networks launched the Winter Peak project. This project aims to examine load profiles and power quality in secondary substations using new fibre communication links.

The load profiles in the low voltage network could change significantly as new generation and demand technologies come online, such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar photovoltaic. Therefore it is important to develop new operational and planning principles to ensure the successful integration of these technologies into the network.

We are partnering with Intel, Siemens and Trinity College Dublin on this innovative project.


We are collaborating with the US-based Electricity Power Research Institute (EPRI) to develop solutions to facilitate increased renewable penetration on the Irish electricity grid.

This is a key step towards developing a smart network. A number of smart grid demonstration projects have already yielded positive results such as reducing the carbon footprint of the electricity distribution system, enabling dynamic control of wind farms and the development of self-healing networks.


ESB Networks, in partnership with Intune Networks and TSSG (WIT), is exploring how future internet technologies can be applied to advance smart energy systems.

FINESCE organises and run user trials to explore these technologies in seven different countries including Ireland. These trials build on work carried out in the FINSENY project. The FINSENY project identifies the Information Communications Technology (ICT) requirements of smart energy systems.

The Irish trials focus on the demand side management of electric vehicle charging and inter-substation communications based on future web based technologies. The consortium consists of 19 partners from 11 European countries and includes participants from the energy, ICT, telecoms and academic sectors.

Our partnership secured €3.3m in EU funding under the FINESCE smart energy programme for this project.