Ireland to support innovative energy projects with €11m fund

Ireland has awarded €11m in funding to 50 cutting-edge research, development and demonstration energy projects.

The projects include a scheme from Irish firm SustainabilityWorks to research the development of an innovative financial solution to home energy upgrades that includes low-interest rates, long-term finance, and a system that makes it easy and convenient for householders to access and repay the finance.

Also involved in the funding drive is a project led by Dr Jerry Murphy at UCC which aims to explore cost-effective solutions for future on-farm anaerobic digestion technologies using typical Irish farm-based feedstock such as animal slurries, excess grass silage and straw. This will be co-funded by Gas Networks Ireland.

The projects are expected to develop solutions that will “deliver cleaner energy for our homes, businesses and communities.”

Announcing the fund, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, stated that moving to net-zero by 2050 represents a major challenge.

“The application of already known technology at scale and the harnessing of emerging potential will demand creativity and collaboration on a far greater scale. This funding will support the kind of innovation that is needed,” he said.

“The government is committed to meeting this challenge. The Climate Action Plan commits to a number of measures such as a €500m Climate Action Fund; €6bn ringfenced revenue from carbon price for climate action and funding for ongoing research in key areas of opportunity such as renewable energy, bio alternatives and land use management.

“The funding being announced today will contribute to this package of measures and will support 50 innovative projects, helping us deliver the step-up required.”

Among the other projects is a research project to explore opportunities for Ireland to be an early mover in Floating Offshore Wind pioneered by Dr Valerie Cummins at the MaREI institute. Cummins will examine the potential for a pilot project off the south or west coast of Ireland. A floating offshore wind turbine is mounted on a floating structure, which allows it to operate in water depths where fixed turbine foundations would not be possible.

The SEAI is responsible for awarding and administering the fund to companies and research institutions nationwide. €1m of this funding came from three strategic co-funding partners, the ESB, Gas Networks Ireland and Geological Survey Ireland.

William Walsh, CEO of SEAI, commented: “I want to congratulate the teams behind the successful projects. The recently published All-of-Government Climate Action Plan includes a target for 70% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. Energy research and innovation, such as the projects receiving Government funding through SEAI and through our strategic co-funding partners, are crucial components to enable Ireland’s low carbon transition.

“SEAI plays a central role in progressing energy research in Ireland through the provision of Government funding and support. This new conference series brings together key stakeholders to connect the dots between research, policy and practice. Through encouraging the development of innovative market, policy and technical solutions, we can develop a thriving and efficient clean energy sector.”

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