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

ESB, Intune Networks AND TSSG (Waterford Institute of Technology) team up to develop smart energy systems.

ESB Networks, in partnership with Intune Networks and TSSG (WIT), have secured €3.3m in EU funding under the FINESCE smart energy project to explore how future internet technologies can be applied to advance smart energy systems. The funding was awarded following a competitive process with other EU states, and 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 today, 26 July 2013 by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD.

The Irish trials are among seven field trials taking place across Europe under the FINESCE project. Within the Irish trials, Irish partners 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.
  • The second will explore how utilities can use advanced optical burst telecommunications switching technology to  enhance the functionality and efficiency of their networks.

Commenting on the project, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD said, “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. 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.

Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive of ESB said, “As future internet technologies emerge, there are opportunities to create  far smarter and more efficient energy systems. Through this project, we are combining ESB’s expertise in electricity and telecommunications with the latest internet innovations to develop  sustainable and cost efficient solutions that will benefit all European citizens and the environment.”

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.

“Smart Electricity Grids are a critical element of Europe’s Energy 2020 policy and a valuable export opportunity. Intune’s new distributed networking innovations solve some of these key challenges and this important trial will pave the way towards meeting Regional and European Energy policies.” said John Dunne, Intune’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Miguel Ponce de Leon TSSG (WIT) Chief Technologist said, “Through the extensive collaborations afforded by FINESCE with domestic and European energy partners, the TSSG (WIT) will further its know-how to develop a management platform for the optimized charging of electric vehicle at home. The TSSG (WIT) is developing an energy management system based on future internet technologies that will monitor energy usage in a network, and suggest efficiencies. The solution will provide grid operators with the real-time ability to stabilize the grid supply by controlling the demand, thus becoming a critical tool for the future smart grid.”

Ends.

About FINESCE

FINESCE is one of five use case projects established under the European Commission’s Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) Phase 2, funded by the EU’s Seventh Research Programme for Research (FP7). It brings together twenty energy and ICT companies, R&D centres and universities from twelve European countries to organise a series of field trials of Future Internet technologies in the usage area Smart Energy.

About ESB

ESB, Ireland’s foremost energy utility, has operations spanning electricity generation, transmission and distribution and supply. ESB Networks is the distribution system operator and owner of the Irish electricity network. ESB owns a sophisticated telecoms infrastructure comprising microwave sites, fibre optic networks and satellite links to support advanced control centres operating the electrical network.

About Intune Networks

Intune Networks, winners of the 2013 Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award for Innovation, has developed a brand-new telecoms networking technology. Intune’s technology allows telecom operators to scale networks in a way that is simpler to operate, uses fewer components and is far more efficient than any previous system.

Traditionally, electricity networks are built from a mesh of fixed links connected by switches. Intune’s architecture uses lasers to switch traffic directly to its destination in a single step. This enables the network to deliver delay-sensitive control traffic alongside vast quantities of traffic from other applications such as smart-metering. The alternative is to overbuild the network or to build multiple networks to cope with different traffic demands. Intune’s new system has the potential to save over 50% of the cost of a traditional network and will be far more flexible to meet future needs.

Intune is a venture-backed company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with offices in the United States and additional research and development facilities in Belfast, UK.

About TSSG (WIT)

TSSG (WIT) (WIT) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for Information Communications Technology (ICT) research and innovation. TSSG (WIT) is currently engaged in a wide spectrum of industry-informed research projects, with a specific focus on technologies enabling communications and information services.

TSSG’s (WIT) prioritised research areas include Mobile, Messaging and Middleware; Security and Trust; Data Analytics and Social Computing and Emerging Networks and Mobile Services. Its mission is to create economic impact by translating knowledge and innovation into leading edge, industry-focused, products and services through collaborative R&D engagement with project partners, supporting knowledge generation and transfer.

For further information contact:

Bevin Cody, ESB Corporate Communications; +353 1 702 6009 / +353 87 255 7186

Richard Brandon, CMO Intune Networks; +353 1 620 4700

Jesse Kielthy, TSSG (WIT); + 353 51 83 4054, jkielthy@tssg.org