ESB Networks launched their National Network, Local Connections Programme on September 30th. Opening the event, Nicholas Tarrant, Managing Director of ESBN, stated that the core purpose of the Programme is to help Ireland meets its decarbonisation targets.
ESB Networks launches ‘National Network, Local Connections’ Programme
Minister Eamon Ryan launched the Programme which is to make the distribution network more flexible and interactive and emphasised that increased innovation and data sharing in the sector will be central to the energy transition. He highlighted the important role the network plays in wider system decarbonisation as well as the need to have a distribution network that plays a balancing role for the grid when wind generation is low.
Ellen Diskin, the Programme lead, gave an overview of the Programme explaining how it will leverage Ireland’s existing built environment to help decarbonise heat and transport through microgeneration and that increased access to data is a key pillar of the Programme as this will enable greater end-user participation through smart energy devices. The Programme will involve upgrading local network connections to take more electricity demand and distributed generation and ESBN will monitor and share information on electricity flows on local networks more widely, with other organisations and with consumers, to facilitate greater flexibility and demand side management.
A Q&A session followed with Marie Donnelly, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council, and Lisa Ryan, Professor of Energy Economics at UCD’s Energy Institute, joining the panel. Some of the questions raised highlighted the need for whole-of-system planning and a co-ordinated approach with other government agencies and Departments to ensure alignment of objectives such as increased electrification.
Lisa Ryan highlighted the role of smart meters and electricity prices, through time-of-use-tariffs, will give consumers more information and a price signal to shift electricity usage to different times which will help absorb more renewable generation. Ellen Diskin confirmed they are coordinating with the National Smart Meter Programme to ensure smart meters are installed in locations of pilot projects.
ESBN have carried out research, to be published shortly, on the potential scale of distributed generation and increased demand-side management to estimate the role these resources could play in mitigating dispatch down of large-scale renewable generation.