UCD Energy Institute plays an integral part in the energy transition, endorsing a net zero carbon energy system, promoting modernised integrated energy systems while empowering the citizen through education, innovation and digitalisation.
We drive the evolution of research into practice into action and strive to:
- Close the research to industrial deployment gap
- Influence energy policy implementation at Irish and EU level
- Grow and strengthen our positive international profile
- Impact constructively on economic growth
- Develop a talent pipeline and graduate training for the Irish energy sector
The Institute is hub of energy education, research, demonstration and outreach at University College Dublin. Interdisciplinary cooperation, collaboration and creation bring together all our members whose area of expertise align to our thematic strands of Energy Systems; Energy Management and Energy in Society. Our members come from a range of disciplines: power system engineering, energy economics, energy in the built environment, energy management and end use, consumer behaviour, energy markets and policy, energy finance, renewable energy technologies and the energy-water nexus among others.
The breadth of activity is captured by 3 core initiatives: Fundamental Research Programme, Energy Systems Modelling & Demonstration.
Since our creation in 2013, our on-going rigorous and independent research on issues of academic and industry significance delivers new knowledge and new approaches, and places us at the centre of the energy debate, contributing to a more coherent understanding of national and international energy issues.
UCD Energy Institute and Climate Action Plan 2019
To understand how our research aligns to Ireland's Climate Action Plan, read UCD Energy Institute and Climate Action Plan 2019.
The Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP) is the flagship programme of the UCD Energy Institute with €11m in funding, half from Science Foundation Ireland and half from industry. ESIPP brings together a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research team in Ireland with expertise in electricity, gas, water and data, with the relevant industry partners to focus on building human capacity and to develop a national coherent research activity in ESI.
ESIPP brings together 5 different research institutes (UCD, TCD, NUIG, ESRI and DCU), along with Industry partners and collaborators, to build the capability needed to deliver an integrated energy system in Ireland. The collaboration is underpinned by a supportive policy system with active participation by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Andrew Keane, Eoin Casey, Frank McDermott, Terence O’Donnell, Julie Byrne, Paula Carroll, Donal Finn, Damian Flynn, Paul Cuffe, Federico Milano, Eleni Mangina, James O’Donnell, Lisa Ryan, Conor Sweeney, Geertje Schuitema and Eoin Syron.
The 4-year Horizon 2020 funded project, EU-SysFlex started in November 2017. There are 34 partners in 14 countries involved in this project, which will cost of €26.5m, including €20.3m funding from the EU, of which the UCD Energy Institute received €0.3m. The EU-SysFlex project is aimed at addressing key operational challenges associated with the transition to a low-carbon power system. The overall objective is to develop a flexibility roadmap to support the implementation of cost-effective solutions in the pan European Electricity system.
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Dr Damian Flynn and Dr Ciara O’Dwyer.
The project will create a toolbox for modelling integrated energy systems, will cost over €3.7m with €3.6m funded by the Horizon 2020, of which the UCD Energy Institute received €0.6m. The project is made up of 5 partners in 4 different countries. The Spine project develops and validates an end to end modular set of open source software tools for energy system modeling. Energy system modeling is the process of building computer models of energy systems in order to analyse them. Spine will develop a tool box that will enable open, practical, flexible and realistic planning of future European energy grids. The Toolbox is suitable for both detailed modelling of complex features in energy systems as well as for large-scale problems.
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Dr Terence O’Donnell, Dr Fabiano Pallonetto and Dr Ciara Dwyer.
As part of a transmission system operator & research institution collaboration, Energy Institute UCD is participating in the EU Horizon 2020 MIGRATE project (Massive InteGRATion of power Electronic devices).
The €18m, 4-year project (Jan 2016- Dec 19) aims at helping the pan-European transmission system to adjust progressively to the impacts resulting from the proliferation of power electronics (PE) onto HVAC (Heating , Ventilation and Air Conditioning) power system operations, with an emphasis on power system dynamic stability, the relevance of existing protection schemes and the resulting degradation of power quality due to harmonics (electrical power). Harmonic frequencies in the power grid are a frequent cause of power quality problems.
With €0.5m funding from the EU, the UCD Energy Institute focus within the project is on the operation of transmission networks with no synchronous machines which may arise ‘naturally’ for individual power systems during specific intra-day periods or ‘suddenly’ following a major incident. In such circumstances, the problem is how to ensure system reliability (adequacy and security) when there is no longer a physical link between load/generation imbalance and the frequency in the HVAC network. The consortium consists of 25 partners, including 11 transmission system operators, 12 universities and research institutions and 2 equipment manufacturers.
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Dr Damian Flynn, Dr Priyanko Guhathakurta & Dr Xianxian Zhao.
Sim4Blocks is a four-year, EU-funded project that focuses on the development of innovative demand response (DR) services for residential and commercial buildings. The project aims to maximise the use of renewable energy at the block of buildings scale through demand response.
UCD Energy Institute will work on the development of thermal models in supply and demand analysis and predictions and integrating these models in order to optimise the DR strategies. There are 17 partners involved in this project with UCD Energy Institute receiving c€0.4m of the €3.7m funding from the EU.
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Dr Donal Finn, Giovanni Tardioli and Solene Goy.
Future energy systems will use renewable energy sources to minimise CO2 emissions. Currently large generators powered by fossil fuel turbines maintain the stability and quality of energy supplies through their inertia. The inertia of these generator-turbine groups gives providers a significant time window in which to react to network events. We urgently need to find ways to stabilise energy systems with up to 100% RES (where inertia is often lost due to power converter mediated energy transfer) to generate “RESERVEs” so that society can relax in the knowledge that it has a stable and sustainable energy supply.
The €5m, 3-year project (Oct 2016-Sept 2019) RESERVE project is developing and field-testing new techniques that can enable a stable supply of purely renewable resources.
With c€0.6m funding from the EU, the UCD Energy Institute focus within the project is on frequency modelling and control techniques, and voltage stability and voltage management concepts for futuristic distribution networks, based on inverters up to 100% RES in WP 3 along with field trials with ESB, the Irish Distribution Network.
ESB will be testing the SERVO platform, allowing energy actors (prosumers, aggregators, generators, market participants and system operators) the greatest possible freedom to control generation and load without compromising network existing performance and integrity. The objective is to test new techniques for Voltage and system Stability by Design using SERVO.
Energy Institute Lead Researchers: Professor Andrew Keane and Professor Federico Milano.
Energy Storage and Demand-Side Flexibility within Future Electricity Markets
Energy Storage and Demand-Side Flexibility within Future Electricity Markets is a €0.8m funded SFI ( Science Foundation Ireland) Investigator Programme in collaboration with Ulster University and 8 other industry partners.
The project aims at policy guidance for decarbonisation targets and aspirations between 2020 and 2050, cost effective strategies for maintaining system security and stability, viable business cases for new/existing market participants, and ultimately signposting pathway options for a sustainable, efficient, secure electricity network that meets all end-user needs.
The project will integrate complex system models (market planning, dynamic technoeconomic plant performance, unit commitment, network loadflow, system stability) to generate an all-encompassing and robust assessment of future policy initiatives, energy storage needs, power system operating procedures and market structures. New levels of modelling sophistication are required: planning & operational timeframes must merge to create a power system which is sufficiently flexible to be operable, generation scheduling and system dynamics must impact on investment decisions, increased load electrification must influence network expansion and demand-side response opportunities.
Lead Researchers in this area are Damian Flynn and Donal Finn.
AMPSAS (Advanced Modelling for Power System Analysis and Simulation) is a €1.7m funded SFI Investigator Programme that will focus on the development of novel analytical and computational tools to understand, efficiently design, and optimize ever-changing modern power systems and smart grids, through model-based approaches.
AMPSAS will define new paradigms for transient, angle, frequency and voltage stability concepts and study how the changes that power systems are undergoing modify the causes that originate such phenomena and the effects they have on the system. Three aspects of power systems that have a significant impact on renewable energy supply and power system operation are considered, as follows: (i) the consideration of stochastic differential equations for modelling power systems which are subject to large stochastic perturbations (e.g., wind and solar generation); (ii) the effect of controller and modelling imperfections (e.g., delays, discontinuities, digital signals, etc.) on both local and area-wide regulators in power systems; and (iii) the stability analysis of power systems modeled through stochastic, functional and hybrid differential-algebraic equations (DAEs).
Exploration of Air Source Heat Pumps for Ireland's Residential Heating Needs
This €71,790 SEAI project aims to review the status of the research literature on the use of air source heat pumps (ASHPs) and their operation in temperate climates like Ireland. The project is due to start in January 2019 for one year. The proposal shows a gap in the research literature on the efficient operation of ASHPs in the field. There is little publicly available empirical data to assess the operation of ASHPs in situ. We propose an initial systematic literature review to create a taxonomy of the available ASHP literature, data and models. We propose a field study of ASHPs in use in the residential sector to gather ASHP operational data, accompanied by a consumer attitudes survey. We will use the empirical data to assess any gap between the observed data and that suggested by the manufacturers' technical operating sheets and create statistical models to explain this gap. We will evaluate the consumer attitudes within a participative action research framework with a view to identifying future ASHP research needs. We will summarise the study outputs in academic papers and a final report with recommendations on installation and user operation guidelines. Lead Researchers: Paula Carroll and 1 x Post-Doctoral Researcher (pending)
Using blockchains to facilitate renewable power generation: forecasting, hedging and tokenisation applications
The €409K funded project will run from January 2019 to January 2023 with three PhD students. The research will engage with various ways that emerging blockchain technologies may help to facilitate the integration of renewable sources into the energy system. Three strands will be explored: the tokenisation of renewable energy for peer-to-peer trading; the use of blockchain-hosted prediction marketplaces to democratise forecasting for power systems; and using smart contracts to embed bespoke financial instruments for hedging risks encountered by wind and solar developers.
Lead Researchers: Paul Cuffe
Chairperson & Adjunct Professor
Deputy CEO ESB
Managing Director Smartwires
Vice President EPRI
Adjunct Professor ESRI & UCD
Energy Institute Board Member
Energy Institute Board Member
Head of Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure at AIB
Managing Director, SSE Ireland
Director of Research, UCD
Professor of Finance