Energy Needs Ireland - Current & Future Work

Published: Thu 25 Jul 2013
A blog entry by Shaun Sweeney

Contributed by:

Shaun Sweeney
Research Intern
Energy Needs Ireland

Shaun Sweeney's Blog

This is a blog to update you on the progress and future plans of the 2013 Energy Needs Ireland (ENI) group.

Energy Needs Ireland (ENI) is an interdisciplinary undergraduate summer education and research programme which is based in the Electricity Research Centre (ERC) in University College Dublin (UCD). The group operates under the direction of Professor Mark O’Malley.

The 2013 ENI group consists of twenty-one students who are collaborating with the Smart Grid Innovation Hub, which is a collaboration between EirGrid Group and the NDRC (National Digital Research Centre). This year, the principal aim of the group is to promote the development of innovative Smart Grid solutions, with a focus on entrepreneurial initiatives by companies, academics and entrepreneurs in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The areas of the Smart Grid which the group has decided to focus on include: The Consumer, Policy, Forecasting, Interconnection and Data.

Some of the work which ENI has completed to date includes:

- Carrying out a survey of over 400 Irish residential consumers in order to gauge public opinion and openness regarding the Smart Grid with emphasis on smart meters. (A summary report of the results of this survey may be viewed here

- Preparing a Cost-Benefit Analysis on Smart Grid Development in Ireland.

- Collaborating with industry, academia and Government officials in order to discuss different aspects of their work.

ENI are currently working on the following topics:

- Making recommendations for the best way to implement the Smart Grid in Ireland in order to secure the participation of residential consumers.

- Developing a prototype App for a smartphone which will simulate an In-Home Display in the future.

- Looking at the development of both onshore and offshore wind exportation projects and the interconnection of Ireland into a much larger grid network.

- Proposing the policies which should be implemented by the Irish Government to make Ireland’s electricity grid more reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly.

- Examining how social media could be used to predict electricity demand.

- Conceptualising a website which will encourage people to reduce their energy consumption by using social pressure and competitiveness.


The main output of ENI’s work will be a white paper which will detail all results & recommendations. This white paper will be published at a formal presentation evening in early September which will be attended by Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Mr. Pat Rabbitte. ENI will also organise a Smart Exhibition where they will display their work to the public and industry.


The group has already produced a video which describes who they are and the work which they’ve done so far. This video may be viewed here:

Future blogs will update you on our work as we go along from now til September.