26 Sept 2022

Kilkenny's Noonan launches report on value of energy storage

Launch took place at offices of 3cea in the Kilkenny Research and Innovation Centre


100MW battery storage plant at Lumcloon, Offaly

“The Missing Link - The value of energy storage in an All-Island market” a study commissioned by the Irish Energy Storage Association (IESA) was launched today by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Housing, Local Government and Heritage at the offices of 3cea in the Kilkenny Research and Innovation Centre.

The study was carried out on behalf of IESA by AFRY, the Swedish based international engineering and design consultancy. 

President of IESA, Paddy Phelan, said that The Irish Energy Storage Association was pleased to publish the report by AFRY on the value of energy storage.

"People know about the need for more wind and solar generation to decarbonise our electricity supply, but many are not aware of the crucial role of energy storage to allow this to happen. Energy storage is vital to provide a low emissions source of firm back-up capacity to ensure security of power supply. It also ensures stability of the grid by being able to inject or absorb hundreds of MW of power in a fraction of a second," he said.

Minister of State Noonan welcomed the report and said that its launch was coming at a crucial time for Ireland as we move to rapidly decarbonise our economy, energy and transport systems and how we heat buildings and our homes.

“This is a whole of society challenge but also a great opportunity for the country and innovation in the storage of generated renewable energy will add to the robustness of our energy security and independence," he said.

Key points of the report are that energy storage is needed to provide power when there is insufficient wind and/or solar power and, equally, absorb power when there is an excess of wind/solar which would otherwise be wasted. Weather conditions across the island of Ireland mean wind output is either very high or very low for about half of the year, with periods of high or low wind lasting a little under 20 hours on average.

However, longer duration storage can contribute to solving this problem. For instance, batteries can provide six hours or more of back-up with green hydrogen storage covering days or even weeks. This will provide security of supply while replacing fossil fuel standby plant. Storage will also alleviate grid congestion by using strategically located energy storage plants, allowing additional wind and solar to be connected without having to build new transmission lines.

“The report is timely as the Dept of the Environment and Climate Change is developing its policy on energy storage,” said Frank Burke, Board member of IESA. “The Report shows the need for 1,900MW of additional energy storage which would result in savings of €162m/yr to the electricity system at a cost of €128m/yr leaving a net saving of €34m/yr. Energy storage can reduce the amount of wasted renewable electricity by almost 800GWh annually, enough to power all of the private households in Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Drogheda combined,” he continued.  

A key finding is that additional energy storage has the potential to reduce the PSO Levy by €40-60 million annually by 2030. Energy storage can also reduce the amount of renewables capacity needed to meet 2030 targets. Power sector emissions could fall by c.370kt annually in a scenario of 1.9GW of total energy storage by displacing conventional thermal plant. This is almost equivalent to Waterford’s current emissions and saves some €21 million annually in 2030.

“This is the way to ensure security of supply in a cost effective environmentally friendly manner," Paddy Phelan said.

"Energy Storage could displace some of the need for inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT). Currently, because energy needs vary throughout the day, more expensive and less green OCGT Thermal Plants are needed to meet the increase in demand when it is needed. The study finds that batteries could help displace these to a factor of 100MW of storage displacing 80 MW of gas from OCGT Thermal Plants. This is a greener approach, and will also result in substantial savings to the Exchequer."

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