Bright idea could lead to a solar powered future for Dublin

A three-week project which will examine how Dublin city can harness, produce and use solar power begins in Dublin today.

The exciting project is the result of Dublin City Council’s successful application to participate in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge 2014. The initiative asks cities and regions to identify a strategic challenge. Winning applications get the expertise of a top IBM team to address their challenge.

Dublin’s Lord Mayor welcomed the six member IBM team that includes two executives from HSBC, at 12 noon in the Woodquay Venue, Civic Offices, Dublin 8 today. He says, “Advances in technology mean that solar energy is now a real possibility in a city with a climate like Dublin’s. Dublin City Council wanted to examine what role buildings and land that it owns could play in generating and using solar energy. We also wanted to see if the energy we generate could feed into the energy grid. Our successful application to the Smarter Cities Challenge means we can examine this at no cost to the council.”

Dublin is one of 16 cities and regions taking part in this year’s Smarter Cities Challenge. IBM chose the successful projects from 100 applicants in March. Over the next three weeks, the Dublin City Council and IBM team will meet with interested parties to examine where solar energy could be produced, how it could be harnessed and what uses it could be put to. The team will present an eagerly anticipated report on 23rd October.

IBM are very excited to be working with Dublin City Council on the Smarter Cities Challenge.

“Dublin was selected because of its commitment to the use of data to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on smarter energy solutions”, said Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM Ireland. ”The stakes have never been greater but our IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team are excited at the prospect of helping Dublin tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time”.

Follow the conversation on Twitter #SCChallenge @CitiesChallenge or @ibm_in_ireland


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For Further Information please contact:
Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T. (01) 222 2170.

Notes to the editor

To see a link to FAQs on IBM Smarter Cities

How much is the project worth to Dublin?
IBM estimate that it is worth approximately $500,000 (€400,000).

Why solar energy?
Dublin City Council believes that municipally owned property such as libraries, public parks and roof spaces may be suitable for producing solar energy. Advances in solar technology also mean that solar energy has far greater potential now than at any time in the past.

Why not wind energy?
Population and building density are two factors which mean Dublin is unsuitable for producing wind energy.
What locations could be used?

The Dublin City Council and IBM team will identify locations where solar energy might be produced. Roof spaces on libraries, leisure centres, Dublin City Council offices are just three possibilities. The team will also look at parks and other open spaces.

What could be powered by solar energy?
The team will also examine what city services could use solar power. Public lighting, traffic lights, municipal transport, buildings are all possibilities.

Could excess energy be fed into the national grid?
The team will examine the possibility of integrating any solar energy with the national energy grid.

What happens next?
The team will produce its report and recommendations on 23rd October. Among the questions it will address are:
• Does it make economic sense to use Dublin City Council owned buildings and land for generating solar power?
• What are the public and private sector innovations which could come from sola power – eg street lighting, solar powered sensor technology, battery storage
• What role can municipally generated solar power play in reducing carbon emissions
• What are the implications for other cities

Other cities taking part in 2014 Smarter Cities Challenge
Abuja, Nigeria, Ballarat, Australia, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, Birmingham, Alabama, United States, Brussels, Belgium, Dallas, Texas, United States, Dublin, Ireland, Durban, South Africa, Jinan, China, Mombasa County, Kenya, Niigata, Japan, Perth, Australia, Suffolk County, New York, United States, Tainan, Taiwan, Vilnius, Lithuania, Zapopan, Mexico

Examples of IBM Smarter Cities projects
Date, Japan now provides more and better information to consumers about the safety of its agriculture.
Eindhoven, Netherlands has reduced crime with strategies that include citizens' use of social media.
St. Louis, USA provides better information about criminals to judges prior to sentencing.
Edmonton, Canada has improved road safety by analyzing accident data and improving education programs.
Boston, USA is using data to manage traffic more efficiently and reduce pollution.
Ottawa, Canada is developing the neighbourhoods near its light rail system by giving incentives to developers and streamlining the permit process.
Syracuse, USA has created one of New York State’s first land banks, enabling the city to reclaim and work with the private sector to transform vacant properties. This is revitalizing its neighbourhoods and restoring its tax base.
Tshwane, South Africa conducted a successful crowd sourcing project to pinpoint and reduce water leaks.