D4.9: White Paper “Regulations Unlocking Innovation Potential”

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The deliverable D4.9: White Paper “Regulations Unlocking Innovation Potential” was submitted by Limerick City & County Council (LCCC) with contributions from GKinetic Energy Ltd (GKIN), ESB Networks (ESBN), and Smart M Power Co. Ltd. (MPOWER) in March 2023. The executive summary of the deliverable is available below and the full deliverable is at the end for download:

“The Positive City Exchange {+CxC} project commenced in October 2018 with the prime objective of demonstrating a Distributed Positive Energy Block (DPEB) in one or more city blocks of Limerick. In order to achieve the first DPEB, based around 5 preselected buildings, considerable retrofitting and installing of building integrated renewables was required, with a positive energy balance reached through additional Renewable Energy assets, namely the innovative Tidal Turbines destined for the adjacent river Shannon. The regulatory environment for all these aspects of DPEB development underwent huge constructive change over the lifetime of the project and the project partners contributed to this wider change where possible. This white paper notes the key innovative changes in the various regulatory spheres, especially ones influenced or driven by the project.

This project was tasked with developing a special regulatory zone in Limerick and, in particular, a Regulatory Sandbox, to enable the formation of a Community Grid. This Community Grid was to be based around the DPEB & other local buildings and managed by a project partner, through the formation of a new entity known as a Community System Operator (CSO). The need to have a Regulatory Sandbox was identified at the start of the project and expanded upon in Deliverable 2.1 Report on Enabling Regulatory Mechanism to Trial Innovation in Cities. However, this Regulatory Sandbox was not developed and ultimately this process came to an end when the Irish Distributed System Operator (ESB Networks) withdrew its support for the formation of a CSO/Community Grid.

The +CxC project has advanced innovation in a number of key areas in the area of building retrofits for “heritage” & “traditional” buildings, including those buildings located within Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA) or listed as protected structures. The project has identified weaknesses in the regulatory framework in this area which were related back to the relevant regulatory body and other stakeholders who were interacting with the project.

Similarly, the development of the tidal turbines has both led considerable regulatory innovation and exposed considerable weakness in the regulatory framework for such devices. This weakness has led to considerable delay in installing those tidal turbines.

The electricity sector, both at large utility scale and, in particular, at the smaller local level, has seen significant regulatory evolution over the project time frame with +CxC contributing to several consultation processes undertaken in this area. The project has interacted with the introduction of Renewable Energy Communities (REC), which hold so much promise for developing renewable energy assets and enabling DPEBs in Ireland.

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