Irish partners receive €3.3m EU funding for smart-grid trials

A partnership comprised of three Irish organisations has secured €3.3m in EU funding under the FINESCE smart-energy project to study how future internet technologies can be applied to advance smart-energy systems.

ESB Networks, in partnership with Intune Networks and the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), has been awarded the funding following a competitive process with other EU states.

The partners were selected on the basis of the potential savings their projects could deliver to consumers across the European Union.

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD, announced the funding for two Irish field trials today.

The trials are among seven field trials taking place across Europe under the FINESCE project.

Irish trials

Within the Irish trials, ESB Networks, Intune Networks and the TSSG 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 area will look at how dynamic control of electric-vehicle charging can be used to balance the electricity system.

The second area will examine how utilities can use advanced optical burst telecommunications switching technology to enhance the functionality and efficiency of their networks.

Rabbitte said the 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.

“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,” Rabbitte said.

The partners will use new technology from Intune Networks and ESB’s advanced fibre-optic telecommunications network to 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.