Bill Kelly - Empowering Communities

“Our project 'Greening the Grid aims to energise the citizenry of Limerick City to become actively involved in the energy transition."


As a champion, I took part in an Open Innovation Call. Our project aimed to energise the citizenry of Limerick city to become actively involved in the energy transition – via hands-on participation. The short term energy prosumer project involved food production in the Georgian district and its environs - growing food in an Energy Management System (EMS) enabled micro grid.

Microclimates were created to grow fruit, veg and flowers on the smart green grid, using mobile allotments with undersoil heating powered by solar pv and battery, complete with an Energy Management System (EMS) & mobile app for participants. The EMS allowed for the aggregation of two or more allotments, whether adjoining or not.

The process of site selection was more extensive than we first envisioned. With members of the CityXChange team, we visited various locations in the city, to evaluate their suitability for our pilot. Various sites were shortlisted and a preferred site was earmarked in O’Brien Park.

We enabled Limerick citizens to reimagine the public realm in the city centre, as a positive energy district using renewable energy, smart technology, and horticulture, and held an event that brought the citizens (as participants) on a journey through the Greening of the Smart Grid.

Through participation in the Open Call, I learned about the willingness of the community to become involved in renewable initiatives, around generating green (solar) energy and how this might positively impact our food chains.

I facilitated the involvement of the community and other stakeholders (businesses & LA) in the initiative, and demonstrated the appetite within civil society to embrace alternative approaches in the combined energy & food space. Following on from the project, I plan to facilitate the appetite within community groups across the country to explore potential opportunities in the offshore renewable energy sector. To learn from international communities who are already active in the offshore renewable space - and how these learnings may be adapted for our circumstances.

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk