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Ulster University (coordinator) partnered with Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT), Queen's University Belfast (QUB), University of Strathclyde, Arbarr Ltd. and Sunamp to launch the INTERREG VA funded SPIRE 2 project in the surroundings of Ulster University, Belfast Campus on 27th October 2017.

Spire 2 Launch
Dr Paul MacArtain DKIT, Professor NJ Hewitt (Ulster University), Professor Margaret Stack (University of Strathclyde), Professor John Morrow (QUB) and James McCorley (Arbarr Ltd).

The ground-breaking project will support the facilitation of new distributed energy and storage to participate in existing and future energy markets. A primary focus of the SPIRE 2 project will be on developing distributed energy storage solutions which will allow very high levels of non-controllable renewable energy to be integrated into power systems.

The SPIRE 2 launch event accommodated a variety of specialist speakers from across the energy spectrum and spread throughout the programme region. Over 110 delegates attended the launch. The event commenced with a networking lunch in the foyer of Ulster University, Belfast Campus, provided by the Ulster University Catering and Conference Services, where delegates and invited speakers got the opportunity to interact and network with one and other.

Proceedings then moved to the Conor Theatre where Dominic McLarnon, Commercialisation Manager SPIRE 2 provided the opening address and welcomed the invited guests and speakers.

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan PVC (Research and Impact), Ulster University then addressed the participants by highlighting the key role that the SPIRE 2 project will play in transforming the region’s low-carbon energy system by addressing the key challenge of delivering on a cleaner greener energy system for Europe and the World.

Professor NJ Hewitt, PI SPIRE 2, Ulster University then took to the stage to provide a summary of the SPIRE 2 project dealing with the context for the need for energy storage and the projected growth of the global energy storage markets through legislative and market changes, Irelands i-SEM and DS3, clean energy growth strategy and concluding with a breakdown of the SPIRE 2 project deliverables, partner roles and technology and development impacts of the project.

John Greer, Head of Unit, Joint Secretariat, SEUPB provided a synopsis of the importance of the SPIRE 2 project to the programme region and highlighted the strong level of support that SEUPB have provided to, and will provide to, the project consortia throughout the lifetime of the project. This project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Bob Hanna, Chief Technical Advisor, Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) then outlined the regional importance of the project stressing that the massive increase in variable renewable energy generation, the electrification of the heating and cooling sector, and the potential for expanding electric vehicle networks are accelerating the need for efficient, reliable, and economical energy storage solutions.

Nicholas Tarrant, Managing Director, NIE Networks delivered one of two keynotes on the day discussing the ‘Role of DSO in Future Networks’. Tanya Hedley, Director of Compliance and Network Operations, UREGNI delivered the second keynote on ‘Empowering Consumers in Future Markets’.

Dominic McLarnon then concluded the day’s events and thanked all speakers and delegates for their support.