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IERC urges Irish industry to collaborate on energy research

Posted on: 19 May 2016

IERC urges Irish industry to collaborate on energy research
IERC Energy Conference 2016

IERC highlights emerging transformative trends that can deliver a low carbon future for Ireland


“Irish industry needs to enhance its collaboration with Irish researchers and develop the innovations and energy-saving transformative technologies required to deliver a low carbon future for Ireland” stated Professor Tony Day, Executive Director of the International Energy Research Centre (IERC), at its annual conference in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin, today.

IERC Energy Conference
Kieran Drain, CEO Tyndall, Tony Day, Executive Director, IERC John Mullins, Chairman IERC CSC & CEO Amarenco Solar & Michael Manley, Assistant Secretary, Energy Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, at the IERC Conference

The conference, entitled: ‘Delivering a low carbon future: Transformative Technologies and Trends’, with representation from Ireland’s leading multinationals and Irish industrial players, will showcase market-led and policy-led opportunities for innovation.  International perspectives will be presented by representatives from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the International Energy Agency, Aalborg University and the UK’s Energy Technology Institute. Leading innovators including Schneider Electric, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Engie will share their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges they foresee in delivering a low carbon future.

Commenting on the need for industry collaboration, John Mullins, the Chairman of the IERC said: “The IERC is driving engagement with Irish industries and leading energy research scientists to stimulate research excellence and strengthen cross disciplinary collaboration. This conference provides a springboard for such engagement that will provide competitiveness benefits for enterprise and deliver market focussed collaborative research in sustainable energy systems”.


IERC Energy Conference
Kieran Drain, CEO Tyndall, Michael Manley, Assistant Secretary, Energy Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Tony Day, Executive Director, IERC, John Mullins, Chairman IERC CSC & CEO Amarenco Solar at the IERC Conference

The IERC Conference is highlighting the smart solutions required to transform our energy systems, including storage, demand response and grid stabilisation approaches, while debating technical challenges for low carbon heating and cooling.  Keynote speakers will debate the impact of Ireland’s energy research in terms of technology needs, business models, and operational and regulatory frameworks, and discuss impact in terms of economic and societal benefit to Irish businesses and communities.

Commenting on the link between energy research and innovation, Professor Tony Day said: “Energy technologies continue to evolve in terms of costs, performance and functionality, making integrated systems thinking a requirement to enable smart grid technologies and more active consumer engagement. This conference is about sharing visions, opportunities and challenges in deploying sustainable energy systems, technologies and processes in energy research that will benefit Ireland”.

The Conference is highlighting a number of IERC supported best practice energy research projects, including an industrial collaboration between Solo Energy, Schneider Electric, DP Energy and ESB Networks on the development of the StoreNet energy storage project, a project involving the deployment of Schneider's new EcoBlade residential battery system within the Irish residential sector.  The project focus is on demonstrating the mass-market potential for distributed energy storage and demand management systems to facilitate a transition to 100% renewable energy across Europe and worldwide. 

The Conference also involves a round table debate among experts from industry, policy and academia on the role of consumers in terms of our future energy system. Experts will debate how existing regimes must change to accommodate new sustainable energy practices and highlights the potential role for prosumers or active energy citizens in energy services in the future.

For further information on The International Energy Research Centre (IERC) see:


About IERC

The International Energy Research Centre (IERC) is Ireland’s only industry-led collaborative research Centre in the field of integrated sustainable energy systems, and is jointly funded by the Irish Government (Departments of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources) and industry members.

IERC is an industry-led research centre (based at UCC’s Tyndall National Institute in Cork), is funded by the Irish Government and provides benefits to industry in terms of delivering integrated sustainable energy systems in the Irish economy. 

The IERC delivers world leading collaborative research to meet global societal needs for secure, affordable and sustainable energy services. It enables partners to develop new products and services that will ensure real energy demand reductions across society. The centre provides an energy research environment that combines business innovation with research excellence for energy demand side efficiency and systems integration challenges.

Background on Ecoblade project

Solo Energy, a new 100% renewable energy supplier business launching in Ireland this year, will supply electricity to the battery network to enable it charge at times of peak renewable generation from wind farms across the country. The energy stored in the batteries will later be used to supply low-carbon electricity to the homes during peak demand periods, when the carbon intensity of the electricity grid is highest due to increased fossil fuel generation. DP Energy, a leading renewable energy developer in wind, tidal and solar energy will provide expert input on the technical and commercial aspects of renewable generation, while ESB Networks will advise on optimising the grid integration of distributed energy storage and renewable generation.

Conference topics:
Session 1: Distributed Generation Systems: Transformative Technologies and Trends

Distributed electricity generation is rapidly gaining credibility as a viable alternative to traditional centralised systems that generate-and-then-sell to the consumer.  A distributed generation system has the potential to provide greater diversity of supply options, increased resilience, wider participation rates and more rapid decarbonisation. In a challenge to current orthodoxy, consumers can become prosumers, micro-grids become the norm, and new businesses are built around innovation and new services. The key concerns are around how to achieve this with ensured continuity of supply, while minimising risk to society and the economy. The intersection between energy and ICT is critical and Ireland is particularly well placed to be a major player in these innovations.

Session 2: Panel Discussion: Empowering Energy Citizens

Energy technology adoption requires a strong involvement of citizens into all aspects of the energy system, from planning and implementation to operation and monitoring. The Energy White Paper – Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Future – positions the active citizen engagement as a key component of delivering change. At a community level, numerous initiatives have taken place in various sustainable energy projects around the world and within Ireland, yet effective engagement and empowerment of citizens into national energy policy remains a potent challenge.

Session 3: Low Carbon Heating & Cooling

Heat is the largest single end use energy demand in temperate climates, and accounts for around 40% of Ireland’s final demand. Decarbonising heat is a significant challenge that requires new fuels, new conversion technologies and improved means of distribution and delivery. This requires new research, new business models, and government policy to provide the necessary rapid transition. The potential for innovation and new opportunity is huge, and urgently needed. 

Session 4: Energy Efficiency and Carbon Management

The energy efficiency sector in Ireland has enormous potential to bring jobs and economic growth, through both cost savings and new business opportunities. The Energy White Paper indicates continued government financial support for greater uptake of energy efficiency and savings measures to meet Ireland’s national targets. However, rates of investment are still far below what is needed with large untapped potential.  Key areas for improvement include buildings, industry and transport, with solutions combining energy systems, ICT, finance and consumer action.


Speakers include:

  1. Frank O’Sullivan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Jo Coleman, Energy Technology Institute
  3. Maarten Noeninckx, International Energy Agency (International Smartgrid Action Network)
  4. Barthold Veenendaal, Schneider Electric
  5. Jon O'Sullivan, Eirgrid
  6. Rory O’Donnell, National Economic and Social Council
  7. Brian Ryan, Electric Ireland
  8. Ben Watts, Engie
  9. David Connolly, Aalborg University
  10. Brian O’Gallachoir, University College Cork
  11. Padraic O’Connell, Gas Networks Ireland
  12. Luke Redmond, PriceWaterhouseCoopers