Autonomous Open Energy Communities: A New Paradigm for Power Grid Operations (AUTONOMY)

Start Year:


End Year:


Funding Body:

Science Foundation Ireland

Research partner/host:

MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, Environmental Research Institute, UCC, Ireland.

School of Engineering and Architecture, UCC, Ireland.

Project Partners:

ESB Networks

Research Area:

Power Systems, Electricity Grids, Energy Communities

Principal Investigator:

Barry Hayes


Power grids are undergoing fundamental changes: the adoption of renewable generation; the electrification of transport and heating; and the extension of communications and control to the individual user. Despite these changes, the methods and technologies used to operate the grid are not ready for the transition to a decentralised system based almost entirely on renewables. AUTONOMY proposes the world’s first autonomous community energy management system, demonstrating the advantages of an electricity grid supported by autonomously-operated, decentralised cells over present centralised command and control approaches. It pioneers a novel transfer learning approach to exchange expert knowledge amongst energy manager agents in different communities across the grid, as part of a wider strategy to decentralise grid energy balancing and coordinate multiple energy resources at the local level.

Work Packages

AUTONOMY is implemented in three work packages:

(WP1) Development and simulation proof-of concept of the autonomous energy community manager; (WP2) Laboratory demonstrator and testing in living laboratory environment; and

(WP3) Design of grid planning models that reflect the future evolution of the system, enabling fairer grid and market access.


Photo Gallery