New project to light up West Kerry
ESB Networks is to use the Dingle Peninsula to test a new type of low-carbon infrastructure in a €4-million project - as it has the wild weather the test requires.
The project - expected to begin in mid-January 2018 and unfold over a three-year period - will include the installation of solar panels, charging points for electric vehicles, and battery storage. The news has been described locally as "an exciting development and opportunity for the locality".
The project will also use equipment for matters such as measuring energy consumption, and a spokesperson said Dingle and the surrounding peninsula is a good trial location for reasons that include its sometimes wild weather.
"The technologies being tested are intended to meet the challenges of the future energy system, such as additional renewable power sources, increased numbers of electric vehicles, and data centres on the electric network," the spokesperson said. "Given how the population changes on the Dingle peninsula through the course of the seasons, the variation in electricity load places particular demands on the peninsula's network. It's also subject to the extreme weather occasionally posed by the Atlantic Ocean, valuable in testing the resilience of any new technologies."
Brendan Tuohy of local creativity and innovation hub "Dingle Hub" explained that the Irish network has to be ready for the challenges posed by Ireland's move towards a low-carbon future, and he feels the Dingle peninsula's involvement will bring further exposure to the area.
"It's 90 years since developments at Ardnacrusha, and as Ireland moves into a new era, Dingle is at the centre of it this time," he said. "This will draw the attention of people and companies interested in what will take place in the area, while universities and educational centres will also be looking very closely at the peninsula. It'll put Dingle on a global platform."