Title: Dingle 2030

Start Year: 2018

End Year: 2022

Research partner/host: MaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute, UCC, Ireland

Project Partners: ESB Networks, Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub (Mol Teic), Dingle Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) and North East and West Kerry Development Board (NEWKD)

Principal Investigators: 

Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir, School of Engineering – Energy Engineering, University College Cork, Ireland

Prof Edmond Byrne, School of Engineering – Process & Chemical Engineering, University College Cork, Ireland

Dr Gerard Mullally, Department of Sociology, University College Cork, Ireland


The Dingle Peninsula is home to an exciting multi-stakeholder project which involves a number of key national agencies (such as the national grid operator, ESB Networks) and local community representatives coming together to explore the transition to a low carbon future. ESB Networks recently launched “The Dingle Project” that will upgrade the existing electricity grid to investigate how the future smart network may look. Along with this, five homeowners in the area are being given the chance to experience and report on the smart home of the future through an ambassador programme that will see the installation of technologies such as air-sourced heat pumps, EV chargers, batteries and solar PV in their homes.

In line with this, the Dingle Creativity & Innovation Hub, located within Dingle town, has established the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) [38]  and a number of initiatives relating to smart agriculture, sustainable transport, rural regeneration and bioenergy in the region. The primary goal is to explore how a low carbon transition may benefit the local community by providing new and interesting employment opportunities.

Under the umbrella title of “Dingle 2030”, the Dingle Hub, ESB Networks, North East and West Kerry Development and MaREI researchers are working together to explore, support and enable the broader societal changes required for the low carbon transition across the Dingle Peninsula.

Drawing from the principles and practice of engaged research, MaREI’s transdisciplinary research team is working in collaboration with the other Dingle 2030 stakeholders to generate outputs that are of value not just for research purposes but also for those involved. In the first instance, offering guidance and support, while exploring areas such as the meeting of top-down /bottom-up stakeholder groups and methods of collaboratively forming visions for the future of the energy system.

Work Packages

WP1; Dingle 2030 Case Study and Community Engagement Support

Clare Watson, Engagement Research Support Officer

Bearing in mind that the ESB Networks Dingle initiative is a pilot project, and that the scope of the Dingle 2030 initiative is so unique it is important to develop a case study that will capture how the project engaged with the community over the time period, and the lessons learnt along the way.



  • compile a diary of events, meetings, engagements held by the ESB Networks and Dingle Hub/Dingle 2030 teams
  • identify and evaluate what worked and didn’t work, the successes, challenges and barriers
  • provide learning for the future roll out of the ESB Networks Smart Grid
  • provide learning for policy makers, state agencies, and other community based groups
  • provide practical support and advice where necessary
  • assist in the setting up and development of effective engagement processes, project structures, and communication channels between stakeholders, and between stakeholders and the wider Dingle population.
  • help develop mutually beneficial networks between the Dingle projects and other experienced people and groups outside of the area

 WP2; Scenario analysis exploring potential futures for Dingle’s energy system

Connor McGookin, PhD Student

It is the aim of this research to develop and apply an innovative modelling framework that gives greater consideration to stakeholder values and perceptions. This new framework comprises a three-stage process of i) mapping of the current topography, ii) engaging with key stakeholder groups from the energy sector, actively involved members of the Dingle community (e.g. GAA club, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) and other members of the public not represented by these established bodies and iii) energy transition scenario analysis. The scenario analysis will explore potential futures for the economic and social development of Dingle as well as key questions relating to the energy transition such as what is the appropriate future level of electrification of heat and transport, and to what extent should future energy networks be distributed or centralised.


  • collaborate with members of the public and organisations across the peninsula to capture the broad range of opinions / perspectives
  • collaborate with existing inanities on the peninsula (i.e. Dingle Sustainable Energy Community, ESB Networks, etc.)
  • understand the potential futures for the peninsula and the energy system that these futures are likely to produce
  • empower locals to become part of the Dingle transition through providing insights into the energy system

WP3; Multi-stakeholder approach to the socio-technical transition to a low-carbon society on the Dingle Peninsula

Evan Boyle, PhD Student

The purpose of this research project is to analyse the multi-stakeholder approach to the socio-technical transition to a low-carbon society on the Dingle Peninsula. In the past, approaches to transitioning have been implemented as either top-down (government led) or bottom-up (grassroots/community initiatives). Dingle 2030 has the potential to be a unique blend of both approaches, through collaboration and co-creation between different individuals/ organisations, with each having different goals, expectations and expertise. Using a participatory mapping approach, this research project will map the different individuals/ organisations involved in the Dingle 2030 project, to investigate how the multi-stakeholder network develops over time.


  • facilitation of a participatory mapping exercise with a number of key stakeholders related to the range of initiatives on the peninsula.
  • conduct regular interviews with a wide range of actors involved in Dingle 2030 to evaluative and analyse this innovative approach to the socio-technical transition to a low-carbon society in a regional context.
Outreach & Engagement Activities
Outputs & Publications

Connor McGookin

PhD Researcher, Energy Policy and Modelling Group

Tel; +353 (0)21 4901944

Email; connor.mcgookin@ucc.ie

Evan Boyle

PhD Researcher, Energy Policy and Modelling Group

Tel; +353 (0)21 4901944

Email; evan.boyle@ucc.ie

Clare Watson

PhD Researcher & MaREI Engagement Research Support Officer

Email: clare.watson@ucc.ie