At the recent Energy Storage Update Europe conference, James Tedd of the Electrical Supply Board (ESB) explained that the need to keep the grid stable currently leads to frequent curtailing of Ireland’s wind power. The cost to the renewable energy market is significant.
Grid limitations and vast wind resources could lead to a thriving electrical storage market in Ireland. ESB cite an urgent requirement for energy storage solutions.
Currently, Ireland’s renewable energy systems can contribute a maximum of 50 per cent of the electricity in the country. This level of renewable energy is considerably higher than the renewable targets achieved in most other countries. As a result, ancillary services can benefit from the creation of a very robust domestic market, which is expected to total €235million in 2016 – approximately 15 per cent of the total power generation market in Ireland. These figures illustrate the potential for new opportunities within Ireland’s electrical market.
SONI and EirGrid, transmission system operators in Ireland, have created Delivering a Secure Sustainable System (DS3). The aim of the programme is to develop fresh policies incorporating new tools and management practices for the electrical grid. The programme involves multiple stakeholders and will span several years. The potential for the development of energy storage exists within this landscape.
Several other projects are also in the pipeline, including independent power producer, AES corporation’s 100 MWh battery array, based in Northern Ireland. Rhode, in the Republic of Ireland, will also see a new energy storage plant developed, expected to become operational by 2017. It is anticipated that the system, led by the University of Limerick and Schwungrad Energie, will begin with a 20 MWh capacity, utilising flywheel technology.
Maximising Energy Potential
It is felt energy technology can help networks become smarter. And, according to Tedd, the source of prime revenue is power. The majority of battery systems and capacity revenues are essential for high capacity, low cost batteries. In addition, suppliers of solar panels in Northern Ireland, such as http://www.solarpanelni.com/, should increase their presence.
In terms of siting the projects, substations are the ideal solution. However, due to the high regulation of distributed network operators, these could pose a problem. Other solutions therefore might include attaching storage to existing sites and/or developing demand side sites. The need for flexibility remains critical.