Eirgrid and NDRC launch innovation hub around the smart grid

25 Oct 2012

Ben Hurley, chief executive, National Digital Research Centre; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte,TD; Bernie Gray, chairperson, Eirgrid; and Fintan Slye, chief executive, Eirgrid

Energy infrastructure company Eirgrid is teaming up the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) to launch the Smart Grid Innovation Hub, a new initiative to help companies, entrepreneurs and academics with ideas for the future smart grid to access support from the energy and ICT industries on the island of Ireland and bring products and services to market faster.

Some of the aims of the smart grid initiative include bringing new ideas from concept to market and helping to create a cluster of companies operating around the smart grid area.

Another goal of the hub will be to position the island of Ireland as a global centre of excellence for the smart grid. There will also be a testing environment for concepts and project spaces.

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, TD, launched the Smart Grid Innovation Hub this morning at an Eirgrid conference in Dundalk.

He spoke about how the initiative will help companies, entrepreneurs and academics with smart grid ideas to access the expertise of both the energy and ICT industries in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Eirgrid chief executive Fintan Slye spoke about how the combined transmission networks of Ireland and Northern Ireland manage some of the highest levels of wind penetration in the world.

“This provides us with a unique opportunity in developing smart-grid technology. Supporting innovation in new grid applications is critical and will ensure that the grid works more efficiently and economically in the future,” he said.

The NDRC will be working with Eirgrid to provide incubation space for ideas that are at the early commercialisation stage to help create new ventures in the smart-grid area.

“We will work side by side with these players to enable convergence and to turn great ideas into new ventures that will lead the smart-grid evolution,” said Ben Hurley, CEO of the NDRC.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic