NewEnergyNews: Convergence in Ireland; Irish innovators are coming together to get the grid ready for renewables


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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, August 8:
  • Big Gains From Dems’ New Climate Bill

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010

    Convergence in Ireland; Irish innovators are coming together to get the grid ready for renewables

    “I’ve been asked,” said Orla Feely, a Professor of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD), “to take a look at energy research and see what strategically we need to be doing.”

    UCD is Ireland’s largest university and its energy research programs have won “various esteem indicators” and competitive funding in recent years and spawned an array of New Energy economy startups. “And what we want to do now is turn that into something that is bigger than the sum of the parts,” Feely said.

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    “As the grid extends into the home in all sorts of intimate ways,” Feely said, “the power systems guys need to talk to the ICT guys and the ICT guys can’t do all their processing stuff independent of knowledge of the grid.” The convergence, she said, is producing a “structure that will enable us to bring groups together” because “we have all the component pieces” and “what we want to do is take it to the next level of integration.”

    “I suppose our industrial revolution came in the 1980s and it was an ICT-based industrial revolution,” Feely said. “In the middle part of the nineteenth century when other countries were having the classical industrial revolution, we were having famines.”

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    The result is Ireland’s present way of responding to things. “Our industrial generation came based in the 1980s in an era where things moved faster and there were new modes of operation and a new speed of response and I think that stands us in very good stead in many problems that we now seem to confront.”

    Feely pointed at maps of Ireland’s world-leading wind and wave energy resources and at charts of statistics showing Ireland is already getting an average of seventeen percent of its electricity from wind on the grid. On one very windy night this past April, she pointed out, “wind was 42 percent of the power on our grid.” There are people, she said, “who will argue that it is not possble to operate a grid in a stable fashion with even twenty percent. We are showing on a daily basis that this IS possible.” It is, she said, “spectacular by international standards.”

    The full version of this story will be up soon at Greentech Media

    Today’s schedule:

    Morning: NTR plc. It appears that these folks do a lot of New Energy. Can’t wait to talk to them.

    Midday: Bord Na Móna Environmental Ltd. One of the biggest traditional integrated energy companies in Ireland. Set up in 1946, they do anything that burns, from coal to peat to briquetts. Should be a revealing interview.

    Midafternoon: Wavebob. One of the most important players in the wave energy business, arguably THE most important player.

    Dinner: Hosted by Andrew Parish, CEO, Wavebob. Couldn’t pass this up, though it means Thursday’s post may be truncated.

    Beckett's Hotel (click to enlarge)

    Overnight: Beckett’s Hotel, Cooldrinagh House, Leixlip, Co. Dublin.

    click to enlarge

    The mother of Samuel Beckett, author of the unutterably brilliant Waiting for Godot was born here in 1871. "Cooldrinagh" is Celtic for “the quiet place of the black thorn.” Hmmm.


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