Limerick smart city plans scoop €6.5m EU funding

+cityxchange
Members of the +cityxchange project

Community grid project could see part of the city produce more energy than it consumes

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11 July 2018 | 0

Limerick will become the first Irish ‘Lighthouse Smart City’ after securing €6.5 million in funding from EU research funding programme, Horizon 2020.

Under the project title +CityxChange (positive city exchange) the city of Limerick will work with a consortium of 32 partners from 11 countries.

For the next five years, Limerick City along with the city of Trondheim in Norway will work with five other follower cities, Alba Iulia (Romania), Pisek (Czech Republic), Sestao (Spain), Smolyan (Bulgaria) and Voru (Estonia) to develop a series of demonstration projects on how to become smart positive energy cities.
“A smart city is a place where its infrastructure and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and ICT technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business,” said Dr Mihai Bilauca, head of digital strategy, Limerick City and County Council.

“The +CityxChange is another major step forward as part of our Digital Strategy for Limerick to become a Smart City Region that is ready for the new energy market and increased use of clean energy for sustainable development of our communities. We aim to demonstrate at European level the potential of our innovation ecosystem existent in Limerick and Ireland.”

The focus in Limerick will be on the development of a ‘community grid’ and the use of smart meters, innovation in new energy sources (including hydrokinetic energy) and storage, digital tools and citizen participation to create a ‘positive energy district’ in Limerick city centre, starting with the Gardens International building and Engine training and workspace provided by Innovate Limerick.

If successful, the district will produce more electricity than it consumes.

The project includes the development of a framework and supporting tools to enable a common energy market. This market will be supported by a ‘connected community’ using digital technologies for collaboration, to reduce energy costs and resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.

Rosie Webb, Lighthouse City leader, Limerick City and County Council, said: “This is an outstanding opportunity for Limerick to lead at an international level on the creation of positive energy areas. The Georgian Innovation District will enable us to co-create the future we want to live in. This can only happen with the active participation of citizens and by working closely with the University, industry partners and local businesses.

“In Limerick we will specifically look at adapting our historic city centre to enable citizens to play a key role in this new sharing and exchange model of energy consumption. We will then be in a position to exchange our experience with cities across Europe.”

Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr James Collins said: “This process was started with a very welcome grant of €33,000 from Enterprise Ireland to cover costs, we have now reached our destination with a reward of €6.5 million for Limerick and €2 million of that going directly to Limerick City and County Council for this project where Limerick will lead internationally to help co-create the future we want to live in and actively engage with all our communities to do so.

“Thinking big, and thinking ahead have helped us turn the Limerick economy into a success story. It’s innovative initiatives like this +CityxChange project which will drive us on to the next level, a beautiful historic riverside city that’s harnessing our natural environment and digital technology to deliver the Limerick of the future, a Limerick that works for everyone.”

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