Supported by SEAI, Enterprise Ireland and leading Research Laboratories the Micro Electricity Generation Association (MEGA) is currently installing Phase 1 of the Tallaght Smart Micro Energy Test Bed. A willing group of prosumers, selected from a much larger group of candidates, are being equipped to form Ireland’s first regulated Smart Micro Energy Cluster.
The immediate goal is to get this initial cluster up and running and licensed, through a new micro-power utility organisation: a Community Energy Utility Company. This company aims to maximise local energy production and exchange this energy within this cluster, by using flexibility in willing participants and recycling of energy. MEGA, through its expert members, has developed the Smart Micro Energy Cluster System as the fastest route to safe Micro-grid roll-out i.e. hardened-nodes (hardened through flexibility) which can go island in crisis thereby underpinning the safety of Smart Grid roll-out and providing key benefits to the willing participants such as improved security of supply, better comfort, price stability and local energy promotion while in turn assisting in the stabilisation and protection of the Grid System. The corner stone is power-matching: real-time local consumption of local clean energy production within each cluster. This is underpinned by prosumer flexibility and intelligent-automated real-time energy auctioning within the cluster between prosumers acting as a single energy entity (Autoproducer). In short MEGA is taking crude local green energy to a new refined “white energy” level through intelligent and flexible prosumer automated power-matching systems in natural component sub-sections of future micro-grid development areas. The more intermittent green energy is refined and harmonised locally into white energy, the more stable, adaptable and smart grid friendly the whole electricity system can become.
This is a unique time and unique opportunity to overturn a current local “Irish” structural weakness into a key turning point for the popular modernisation of the electricity system capability. Ireland, faced with complex electricity system challenges, is experiencing difficulty in the development and roll-out of grid-safe micro/distributed generation. The continued rapid advancement of windpower and other alternative energy systems requires the early deployment of full-blown smart-grid systems – a prospect which is setback by the low penetration level of the local electricity generation capacity essential to the development of safe “hardened nodes” or micro-grids with islanding capability. The Tallaght Smart Micro Energy Test Bed will strike to enable a turnaround of this setback by harmonising local generation to local needs in real time clusters. In this way it will substantially increase the value of the energy generated and refined through local prosumer groups. This will make both local clean energy production more attractive as an investment but, at the same time. Provide the key building block of the desired micro-grid systems. This is why State Bodies and Local authorities are so keen to see this Test Bed develop at a steady pace to resolve this anomaly by advancing solutions for here while developing local competencies to carry these solutions overseas.
The challenge is big for the MEGA Technology Group and its partners, and prosumers, but the market growth prospects are compelling and many are seeking to become active in this space. By concentrating on the core intelligent and responsible operating system for Smart Grid Technology Test Beds, MEGA is providing a platform for other organisations seeking to advance in this space but lacking real-life conditions and dynamic economics to test and refine their innovations in partnership with future customer types. The task is big but already Technology Companies are getting behind the wheel. What is needed now is more concerted support. This is a call to innovators to get involved, support the space and reap the benefits.