ESB’s energy hackathon issues call for people with bright energy ideas

3 Oct 2016

Electric pylon. Image: Lisa S/Shutterstock

The ESB has issued a call for tinkerers and hackers to attend its first ever energy hackathon – called The Big Energy Hack – with prizes of up to €5,000 available for the brightest idea on the day.

The energy hackathon will be held between 21-23 October at the Dogpatch Labs incubator in the IFSC in Dublin and aims to have 150 of the “best and brightest” minds in Ireland attend.

As the organisers of the event, the ESB is calling on people from a diverse range of fields to apply; including IT, innovation, marketing, design, finance and entrepreneurship.

Future Human

The idea behind running The Big Energy Hack is to help find some feasible solutions to lower carbon emissions and combat climate change through the home, electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grids.

The 48-hour hackathon will cover three challenges: How can the ESB empower customers to be more energy efficient in their homes? How can the ESB enhance the EV driving experience? And how can the ESB improve the reliability and quality of the electricity supply?

Cash prizes for the best ideas start at €5,000, followed by €3,000 and finally €2,000.

Making EVs more efficient

Hackers considered to have the top groundbreaking creations and concepts will also have the opportunity to bring their ideas to the next level at ESB’s innovation hub, X_Site.

Speaking about The Big Energy Hack, ESB’s executive director of innovation, Paul Mulvaney, said: “At ESB, we are passionately dedicated to innovating and shaping the energy of the future through collaboration, harnessing relationships with external partners and developing new commercial products and services for all customers.

“Innovation has always been at the heart of ESB, from the pioneering development of Ardnacrusha hydropower station in 1927 to our diversification in recent years; including renewable sources of energy, smart networks, energy efficiency, smart homes and electric vehicles.”

Sinead Bruton from the ESB’s EV division said to that it is looking for ideas that could improve route and journey planning to make longer journeys in EVs more efficient.

With EV numbers remaining low in Ireland, the Government is looking at potential ways to boost numbers, such as implementing a law that would allow EVs to use bus lanes during peak hours.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic