€3.3m in EU funds for smart energy trials

Charging an electric car from a socket in a friend’s house but getting the cost put on your own electricity bill could soon be possible under new technology being piloted by the ESB.

ESB Networks, a division of the semi-State company, yesterday announced it had secured €3.3m in EU funds under the FINESCE smart energy project which aims to deliver major energy savings to consumers across the EU.

The research will be carried out in conjunction with a number of partners including Intune Networks and the TSSG centre at the Waterford Institute of Technology. A spokesperson for the ESB said the project would aim to harness how internet technologies can be applied to advance smart energy systems.

Pat Rabbitte, the communications minister, said the project highlighted how smart networks could be used to meet the EU’s 2020 energy conservation targets.

Meanwhile, he said he was unconcerned about the threat of industrial action by ESB staff in a row over underfunding of the group’s pension scheme.

Staff have been angered by the Government’s recent decision to seek a special dividend totalling almost €500m from the ESB at a time when the pension scheme has a €1.7bn deficit.

However, Mr Rabbitte expressed confidence that the matter could be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties without the need for industrial action.

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