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Government provides £2.4m to support NI’s first smart micro grid energy project

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The £7.5m Girona project has received £2.4m in Government funding to bring the first-ever ‘smart grid’ to Northern Ireland, offering business and domestic customers cleaner and cheaper energy.

Poweron Technologies Limited, incubated at Innovation Factory in West Belfast, is being supported, along with GES Group in Ballymena, by the Government’s Innovate UK scheme to help fund a project that will transform the way energy is generated and consumed.

The project will begin with homes and businesses on the North Coast and will be rolled out across the whole of Ireland and Great Britain as it develops.

Eddie McGoldrick, Director of Poweron, trading as The Electric Storage Company said:

“We want to make the energy market more democratic, consumers feel they have no choice when it comes to the big energy companies.
These innovations are an easy, inexpensive way to bring smart energy solutions like solar panels and battery storage into consumers daily lives. The ‘micro-grid’ isn’t just good for the environment because it uses more renewables, contributing to the Net Zero target, it will also see a reduction in energy bills.”

David Moore, Chief Executive Officer of GES Group said:

“Providing more flexible energy solutions holds big benefits for businesses. Reducing their environmental impact not to mention their energy bills is often a key objective for companies, but investing in the technology needed to do so is often expensive. Our innovative system of financing the technology means they too can reap the rewards without large outlays.”

By combining Northern Ireland’s expertise in power engineering, fintech and big data, with the government investment, the aim is to ‘scale up’, repeating the smart approach across Ireland and GB.

Belfast Harbour is currently being utilised as a testbed for the Northern Ireland micro-grid and Trevor Anderson, Director of Infrastructure & Business Transformation at Belfast Harbour said: “We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with Girona in developing this technology and are fully supportive of the plans for a micro-grid to grow and expand within a large-scale test environment. This aligns with our ambitions to be the best regional port in the world and to embed SMART and sustainable technology across our business”

NIE Networks has been supporting the ‘Micro Grid’ project through exploring the impact the technologies will have on the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland. Ian Bailie, Network Development Manager for NIE Networks said:
“We are delighted to see the Micro Grid project receive further support and it’s been a privilege to have played such a critical role from the start in such an innovative project. Our Future Networks team has been assessing the impacts the deployed technologies will have on the electricity network and analyzing that data to shape how the final technology will operate. This project will enable domestic customers to have a meaningful impact on the network and transform the future of energy generation and consumption in Northern Ireland.”

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