Innovative solutions created at Ireland's first energy hackathon

Big Energy Hack Winning Team

From car parking sensors to personal energy apps, there was an abundance of ideas at Ireland's first energy hackathon, The Big Energy Hack.

However, it was an innovative cloud-based platform that alerts and coordinates emergency response units to potential risks on the electricity network during storms that claimed the top prize at the three-day event.

The real-time solution, created by the Cloud Command team, allows emergency services such as the Gardai, fire services, hospitals and state agencies share information such as the precise location of damaged network, leading to better coordination during times of crisis.

More than 150 hackers from a diverse range of backgrounds descended upon the Dogpatch Labs to spend 48 hours discovering and exploring innovative customer selections for a low carbon future. Following opening pitches, 10 teams were formed and hacked their way through the energy focused challenges.

The second prize went to the JOLT team, who developed a technology using social media platforms to identify the cost of electricity homes are using and help consumers save money in real time.

Meanwhile, the third prize was awarded to the SPOT team, who devised the concept of parking sensors to manage designated Electric Vehicles charging spots.

Each team formed had to build and pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges with the Cloud Command team scooping the top prize of €5,000 and the possibility of developing this idea further at ESB’s innovation hub, X_Site.

The Challenges


Electricity is available at the click of a switch but home owners have no idea how much electricity each appliance uses and how they can better manage them to save on costs. Electric Ireland is currently conducting a smart home trial using data analytics and smart devices to give home owners an insight into electricity usage across their appliances. Armed with this data and considering that future appliances will be fitted with IoT devices, what kinds of smart solutions can be developed to help customers understand their electricity usage and empower them to manage it more efficiently? And, what kinds of apps and smart customer interfaces could help customers visualise their electricity usage more easily and simply?

ecars manages and operates 1,200 public charge points across Ireland. ecar drivers rely on battery powered technology and so face a unique set of challenges which include smart route planning, queuing and delays at fast charge points and petrol/diesel cars occupying ecar charge point spaces. We also want to find new ways of enhancing the user experience during the period when drivers are re-charging for 25-30 minutes at a fast charge point. To help you on your way we will give you access to data containing charge point locations and availability-status information; and profiles of different types of ecar drivers.

ESB Networks has been cited by IBM as the third smartest electricity network in the world. The reliability and quality of electricity supply to all our customers is vital but we face a number of challenges that cause network outages and faults. These include the impact of storms/floods, metal theft, tree growth, bird strikes and increased construction activity. Our goal and challenge to you is to think of innovative ways to reduce the number and duration of outages so we can deliver a more reliable service. You will be provided with network fault outage data for the last three years - showing the type, location, cause of the faults and planned outages - along with weather and housing data. Using this information, how can we improve our forecasts of faults and outages? Also, what solutions can be developed to keep customers better informed?