€300,000 invested in software for greener Irish energy grid

1 Jul 2021

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Tasked with increasing renewable energy on Ireland’s grid by 30pc in 10 years, EirGrid is jointly developing software to optimise energy use.

EirGrid has partnered with power technology firm Smart Wires, alongside the research and development consortium Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), on a project aimed at boosting the flow of renewable energy on the Irish electricity grid.

“By participating in this project, EirGrid is not only helping to future-proof its network but contributing to the global energy transition by supporting the development of tools that can be rolled out to grid operators across the world,” said Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive.

The development will focus on a tool to help decision-making in the energy control room. By visualising and optimising power flow control devices, the collaboration hopes to move towards “smarter and increasingly more automated grid operations”.

Rather than relying on new infrastructure, this software would optimise existing networks by resolving constraints and allowing additional integration of renewable energy.

Importantly, the group are emphasising its transferability so that it can be converted to other grid operation platforms for easy adoption by other operators across the world.

As operator of Ireland’s national electricity grid, EirGrid has been tasked with increasing the average amount of renewable energy from its current 40pc to 70pc by 2030.

The two-year project is budgeted at €300,000 to develop software tools that will increase the amount of solar and wind power being transported on the energy grid and will be supported by a financial contribution from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Smart Wires, who will be developing the technology and the tools, emphasised the major global interest in countries optimising their energy grids.

“Power flow control technology will be crucial to countries meeting their climate action obligations. This project will be watched with interest globally and is another example of European technology leadership in the energy transition,” said Smart Wires CEO Peter Wells.

While Smart Wires is leading the project and its development, the EPRI will provide subject matter knowledge, with EirGrid supplying relevant transmission data along with their own expertise.

Sam Cox was a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news