MaREI and ERI researchers awarded €3.5m to deliver energy modelling for Ireland

23 Feb 2023

The Department of Environment, Climate and Communications has awarded €3.5m in funding to researchers based at MaREI, the SFI Centre for Climate, Energy and Marine, and the Environmental Research Institute, UCC to provide energy modelling analysis over the next five years.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said, “I am delighted that UCC has been selected as one of our Climate Action Modelling Group (CAMG) partners. Ireland’s climate ambition and emission reduction commitments are challenging but attainable. To find the most effective and feasible pathways to meet our goals will require robust and up to date modelling and analysis. The work undertaken by UCC, as part of the CAMG, will be essential to inform policy.”

Under the funding agreement Government Departments will be able to directly access UCC’s expertise, in a bid to ensure future decisions on Ireland’s energy and climate policy are evidence-based. UCC is Ireland’s scientific leader in energy systems modelling with a specific research base and detailed modelling tools developed over 20 years. Energy system models are detailed computer representations of Ireland’s entire energy system (electricity, heat & transport) that enable researchers to explore future pathways and solutions to Ireland’s complex energy challenges. To date UCC researchers have provided energy modelling for landmark Irish climate policy including Ireland’s first low carbon roadmap in 2013, Ireland’s Energy White Paper in 2015, the first Climate Action Plan in 2019, and Ireland’s first carbon budgets in 2022.

Helping Ireland achieve climate targets

Project lead-PI Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir said, “The benefits associated with bridging between scientific research and national policy were very clear during the COVID pandemic. This project is a great opportunity to translate our energy modelling results into policy insights and to use these to underpin improved energy and climate policies for Ireland.”

Project co-PI Dr Fionn Rogan said, “This funding from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications will enable us to track and explore what combinations of policy measures can help Ireland achieve our very challenging climate targets for this decade.”

Proactive rather than reactive when it comes to future energy planning

Project co-PI Professor Hannah Daly said, “As Ireland’s climate commitments require a rapid transition to a sustainable, zero-carbon energy system, it’s never been as important that the policy system is supported with a rigorous evidence base. The energy systems models we develop under this project will provide timely, transparent analysis to the State at this crucial time.”

Project co-PI Dr Paul Deane said, “The tools, ideas and analysis we have developed in UCC over the past decade allow us to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to future energy planning and never has this been more necessary now as Ireland faces twin challenges of a climate and energy crisis.”

The researchers are associated with The Energy Policy and Modelling Group (EPMG) at MaREI, the SFI Centre for Climate, Energy and Marine and the Environmental Research Institute in UCC. The funding will support the Climate Action Pathways & Absorptive Capacity (CAPACITY) project and builds on previous funding from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications which supported Phase 1 of the CAPACITY project from 2018 to 2022. 

Full story available here.

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