ESB Networks is continuing with its Dingle Project, an initiative which is trialling the use of new, cleaner and greener technologies on the West Kerry peninsula.
So far, the utility has installed a number of devices in homes on the peninsula, including solar PV panels, air source heat pumps and smart meters.
The project will continue into next year, with electric vehicles due to be trialled in the area in January.
All these technologies being trialled on the Dingle Peninsula won’t benefit the environment or the consumer if the physical power lines are outdated, outmoded or inefficient.
With this in mind, I spoke to ESB Networks about what measures they’ve implemented on the peninsula, outside of the devices installed in consumers’ homes.
I first spoke to Fergal Egan, Dingle Project manager, for a reminder of what it’s all about.
That was Fergal Egan, Dingle Project manager.
The ESB Networks’ project on the peninsula is all about using technologies to assist in the development of a smart, resilient, low-carbon electricity network. However, the product being controlled remains the same: electricity.
In West Kerry, meaning west of Inch and Camp in this instance, ESB Networks says that 34 million kilowatt hours of electricity are used per annum. Okay, what does that mean?
A kilowatt is 1,000 watts. And a kWh (Kilo watt hour) equals the amount of energy you would use by keeping a 1,000-watt appliance running for one hour.
A dishwasher uses about 2 kWh per load, a clothes dryer uses up to twice that per load and it takes about 40 kWh to fully charge a Nissan Leaf electric car.
So, for context, enough electricity is used on the Dingle peninsula each year to wash 17 million loads of dishes, dry 8.5 million loads of clothes or fully charge 850,000 Nissan Leafs.
That’s the amount of electricity going through the peninsula – but how is it monitored and controlled?
Networks Assets Lead Cheryl Carmody tells me about the infrastructure, some of which we associate with overhead lines.
Those two devices were upgrades to the lines on the Dingle peninsula, which help give ESB Networks greater visibility and control over the line.
I asked Cheryl to outline some of the new technologies in use, such as a fuse saver, which helps to combat transient faults along the smaller lines. But what are transient faults?
Cheryl Carmody says a lot of these technologies result in reduced power outages, faster response times and less travelling by crews.
She cites a common example of what happens along the peninsula.
With increased electricity demand in the future due to e-heat and electric vehicle requirements, ESB Networks needs to monitor the systems which deliver power. These
low-voltage networks – or LV networks - carry energy from transformers to the customers’ homes.
Cheryl tells us why they need to be monitored.
That was Cheryl Carmody, Networks Assets Lead with ESB Networks.
The Dingle Project is continuing into 2021.