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‘There are huge opportunities for Ireland in the energy sector’

By District Energy posted 05-21-2020 08:05


Silicon Republic


Donna Gartland of Codema discusses Dublin’s low-carbon transition, what we can learn from our European neighbours, and how an electrical internship led her into the energy sector.

Donna Gartland is CEO of Codema, where she is responsible for driving the organisation’s mission to accelerate Dublin’s low-carbon transition through local-level energy policy, planning and projects. She is working with the four Dublin local authorities and other stakeholders to help the county become carbon neutral by 2050.

Gartland is also CEO of the Irish District Energy Association and is pursuing a PhD with UCC’s Energy Policy and Modelling Group.

What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?

There are huge opportunities for Ireland to capitalise on in the energy sector that would allow us to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on imported fossil fuels. Wind is obviously one area that Ireland is capitalising on, but storage is an issue when we move to integrate more renewable electricity on the grid.

Our heating sector is almost completely reliant on gas and oil, yet we have power plants and large industries dumping huge amounts of waste heat and we have huge untapped geothermal and solar thermal opportunities.

We are working on a local-level solution that can help to solve both of these issues – decarbonise heat while also integrating more renewable electricity – and it’s called district energy. District energy systems create a local-level heating (and, if required, cooling) grid which delivers heat to buildings, and the heat used by customers is metered and billed. It works in much the same way as the electricity grid.

These systems are widely used across Europe, and supply 90pc of all heat in sustainable cities such as Copenhagen and Stockholm. We are working with the local authorities in Dublin to bring the first district energy schemes to the region, from early feasibility stages, right through to funding, procurement and contracting.

#District Cooling