Title: Corca Dhuibhne 2030/ Dingle Peninsula 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


Dingle Peninsula 2030 is a multi-partner initiative based on the Dingle Peninsula, in Co. Kerry, with a population of 12,508. Established in early 2018, it involves the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub, ESB Networks, the MaREI Centre, and North East West Kerry Development (NEWKD). This diverse group is actively working with the local community schools, business and farming sectors to explore, support and enable the broader societal changes required for the low carbon transition.

With the support and assistance of NEWKD, the Dingle Hub has set up the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community (SEC), completed an Energy Master Plan for the area and is working on the following:

a feasibility study for an anaerobic digester; a sustainable transport initiative, with Local Link Kerry; and,  in partnership with Kerry Education and Training Board, the training of 16 local energy mentors to support people in retrofitting their homes and using energy efficiently. The Hub is also hoping to set up a local energy Co-op, supported by the EU SKIN project and Teagasc researchers, to enable the community to invest in future renewable energy generation.

ESB Networks has chosen the Dingle Peninsula as the location for a €5 million 3-year project, which launched in April 2018 and will see the deployment of a range of new technologies to assist in the development of a smart, resilient, low-carbon electricity network of the future. These technologies include Solar Photovoltaics (PV’s), Battery Management Systems, Air Source Heat Pumps, Peer-to-Peer Trading Devices, Smart Electric Vehicle (EV chargers), Smart Immersion Controllers and Smart Home Devices.  It will also see the rollout of Smart Devices on the electrical network that will allow for increased reliability. As part of this project, ESBN has fully retrofitted the homes/businesses of five local Ambassadors (i.e. people/families/businesses chosen from across the Peninsula and provided with the necessary equipment) and are trialing battery technology and solar panels in other homes in the area. A number of local residents are also participating in an electric car trial over a 12-month period.

A major task will be to successfully engage the local community in the transition to a low carbon future and, in this regard, there has been an active presence at the many festivals (c.45) that take place annually across the Peninsula. Working as a team, the various players (supported by the Ciste Timpeallacht (Environment Committee) from Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne) attend the festivals and engage with the local community.  A major programme is planned for 2020 on ‘Activating the Energy Citizen’.

A team of transdisciplinary engaged researchers from MaREI is offering guidance and support, exploring the interaction between top-down and bottom-up stakeholder groups, and identifying ways of collaboratively forming visions for the future energy system. The evaluation of the project, and lessons learned, will be documented in a case study and shared with relevant stakeholders with a view to informing future climate action.  In addition, some shorter Policy Briefs will be provided for policy-makers, based on the experience of the Dingle Peninsula 2030 project, and aimed at influencing the development of policy.

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