Smart electricity grid will need next-gen broadband – Ryan

14 May 2010

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan TD said that without the right internet infrastructure, Ireland would struggle to achieve its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050 when it would rely on a smart grid that would trade renewable energy created here with the rest of the world.

“When we talk about the smart grid, we’re not just talking about a transmission system but also actually about a smart grid that integrates internet with electricity use. That way you achieve double efficiency gains because of the huge efficiencies you can get,” Ryan said at the Business & Leadership Green Economy conference in Dublin.

He said that Ireland should play to the strengths of the significant ICT industry that has grown up in the country to create the products and services that smart cities and countries will need from transport to smart energy usage in the home.

“We have that combination of ICT companies interested in this space and a fairly good grid but one we’ll need to keep investing in.

“We have a modern grid compared to other countries. The utility companies are committed to using it and we have the ICT companies coming here to say this country knows what it’s doing, it has the wind supply and the political commitment and the energy services capabilities to put these internet and energy technologies together.

“This is a huge economic opportunity that we can capture and then sell to the world,” Ryan said.

At the conference, Ryan said that Ireland needs to de-carbonise its economy and this would require a target of 80pc of carbon taken out of the country by 2050.

“Using our smart grid, using wind supply resources, car companies, the rest of the world is going to follow and it is doable,” he said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Communications Minister Eamon Ryan

The Green Economy – Conference Highlights

On Friday, 14 May, business leaders in Ireland attended the The Green Economy – A Business & Leadership Briefing to listen to leading experts discuss the green economy’s challenges and opportunities. To read reports and see video highlights from the conference, click here.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years