MaREI is the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine research and innovation co-ordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork. The Centre comprises over 220 researchers focusing on defined global challenges such as the Energy Transition, Climate Action and the Blue Economy.

With support from SFI and ESB Networks, MaREI is leading engaged research around the energy transition and climate action on the Dingle Peninsula, as well as providing support on governance and structure for the group.  Through engaged research with its Dingle Peninsula 2030 partners, MaREI is tracking, analysing, and documenting experiential learnings. The research team are working on several different research areas. Below is an overview of these areas.

Dingle Peninsula 2030
Case Study, and Community Engagement Support

Contact: Clare Watson

clare.watson@ucc.ie

Engagement Research Support Officer

To date, Clare has been supporting the practical development of the Dingle Peninsula 2030 initiative and co-ordinating and supporting the work of the MaREI Dingle engaged research team. She is leading a case study tracking and recording the progress of Dingle Peninsula 2030 and the lessons learnt along the way, with a view to providing briefs for policy, community and other interested stakeholders

Objectives:

  • provide practical support and advice where necessary
  • assist in the setting up and development of effective engagement processes, project structures, and communication channels between stakeholders, and between stakeholders and the wider Dingle population.
  • help develop mutually beneficial networks between the Dingle projects and other experienced people and groups outside of the area
  • document the development of Dingle Peninsula 2030
  • identify and evaluate what worked and didn’t work, the successes, challenges, and barriers
  • provide learning for the future roll-out of the ESB Networks Smart Grid
  • provide learning for policymakers, state agencies, and other community-based groups

Scenario analysis exploring
potential futures for the Dingle Peninsula’s energy system

Connor McGookin, PhD Student

connor.mcgookin@ucc.ie

To date, Connor’s work has provided analysis on the Dingle Peninsula’s current energy demand and renewable energy potentials, which formed the basis of the Dingle Peninsula Energy Master Plan and Climate Hack. In addition, through a partnership with NEWKD and Dr. Brendan O’Keefe, he is involved in a series of community meetings across the peninsula exploring the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing people in order to develop an evidence-based community plan. The goal is to capture the concerns and priorities of local communities in order to collaboratively form pathways for the Dingle Peninsula’s transition to a low carbon energy system. These elements of the project are funded by the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme as part of the CREDENCE project

Objectives:

  • collaborate with members of the public and organisations across the peninsula to capture the broad range of opinions/perspectives
  • collaborate with existing initiatives on the peninsula (i.e. Dingle Sustainable Energy Community, ESB Networks, etc.)
  • understand the potential futures for the peninsula and the energy system that these futures are likely to produce
  • empower locals to become part of the energy transition by providing insights into the energy system

Multi-stakeholder approach to the socio-technical transition
to a low-carbon society on the Dingle Peninsula

Evan Boyle, PhD Student

evan.boyle@ucc.ie

To date, Evan’s work has analysed the multi-stakeholder approach to the socio-technical transition to a low-carbon society on the Dingle Peninsula. Using a participatory mapping approach, the different individuals/ organisations involved in the Dingle Peninsula 2030 project are being mapped, to investigate how the multi-stakeholder network develops over time. An investigation has also taken place on the collaborative approach to governance taken by the four partner organisations in the project. The ESB Networks Ambassador project is being analysed to understand the dynamics required to activate the energy citizen in Ireland in light of the Dingle Peninsula 2030 project. Alongside this, at a national level, this research is working alongside a range of public bodies, including ESB Networks, to investigate current good practice for community engagement.

Objectives:

  • facilitation of a participatory mapping exercise with a number of key stakeholders related to the range of initiatives on the peninsula.
  • work with ESB Networks ambassadors to assess the integration of new technologies into their lifestyles to attain lessons for future deployment.
  • conduct regular interviews with a wide range of actors involved in Dingle 2030 to evaluative and analyse this innovative approach to the socio-technical transition to a low-carbon society in a regional context.
  • Facilitation of a workshop on community engagement within public bodies with a number of national organisations.

Impacts of transport and heat electrification
on the power distribution networks in Ireland

Barry Hayes

barry.hayes@ucc.ie

MaREI researchers are collaborating with ESB Networks on Medium Voltage (MV) and Low Voltage (LV) electricity network modelling of the Dingle Peninsula. This research forms part of the larger MaREI project CREDENCE funded by the US-Ireland partnership programme involving researchers in the USA, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The main goal of this work is to understand the impacts of electrification (transport and heat) and prosumers (network users that both consume and produce electricity) on the Irish power distribution grids.

MaREI are working with engineers from ESB Networks flagship Dingle Project in order to:

  • Develop standardised and automated procedures for creating Low Voltage network models in OpenDSS using GIS/planning databases and patrol information.
  • Create accurate models of LV feeders in the Dingle peninsula region and integrate these with the existing Medium Voltage network model.
  • Study MV and LV network impacts in future scenarios with high penetrations of electric vehicles, heat pumps and Photovoltaic Solar in the Dingle peninsula.

This work is providing significant learnings both for MaREI and ESB Networks that will enable faster and more accurate analysis of smart distribution networks with electric vehicles, heat pumps, local renewable generation and batteries. It is expected that this research, developed using the Dingle Peninsula electricity network as a case study, will be used to inform best practices for future network planning and operation across Ireland.

Creation of learning briefs

Clare Watson

clare.watson@ucc.ie

WHAT IS A LEARNING BRIEF?

The Dingle Peninsula 2030 ‘Learning Briefs’ are short documents focusing on learnings from particular activities, projects or outcomes relating to the work of the partnership. The process is co-ordinated by MaREI but the learning briefs themselves are co-created with other members of the partnership.

Each learning brief endeavours to:

  • provide context and background
  • document what happened and how it happened
  • explain the roles of the different participants
  • demonstrate what worked, what didn’t work and how improvements might be made
  • highlight the benefits, challenges and lessons learnt and how these might be diffused more widely, if relevant
  • make recommendations

The overall aim is to capture the learnings in a format that is accessible and useful to the participants involved and to other communities, groups, researchers, companies, agencies and policy makers.

Learning briefs are produced relatively quickly and often during an ongoing process. This means that they are a way of collecting and presenting data in close to real-time.

The process of writing a learning brief involves intensive, collaborative reflection and deliberation. They therefore also provide a useful form of internal reflective learning and evaluation, which helps inform future decisions and actions and ultimately makes our work more effective.

A number of Learning Briefs have already been produced and are available below.