When Ireland’s first-ever battery-based energy storage project goes online in the coming weeks, the 11-megawatt (MW) installation in Co. Kerry will be guaranteed to deliver a response to any power fluctuations on the grid in 150 milliseconds – about one sixth of a second – or less.
The need for speed is critical to Ireland’s ambitious plan to get 70 percent of the Republic’s power from renewable sources by 2030. Energy storage company Fluence is partnering with Statkraft Ireland on the project, which is located in Kilathmoy and also includes 23 MW of onshore wind capacity.
Fluence’s grid-scale energy storage technology will provide flexible capacity, reactive power and, at Kilathmoy, split-second system support for Ireland’s electric grid as it integrates increasing amounts of intermittent renewable energy.
The 150-millisecond response time, requested by grid operator EirGrid Group, is “among the fastest and most stringent we have seen anywhere, and therefore has the potential to provide premium value when needed,” said Paul McCusker, Fluence Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“Ireland and Statkraft are providing a model for the world of the rapid energy system transformation that is possible with a combination of smart policies and innovative business and technology solutions,” he added.
Norway-based Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, is contracting with EirGrid to provide reserve power to the national electricity system specifically in the event of a sudden drop in supply.
“This project continues our growth trajectory while complementing our extensive renewable development plans,” said Kevin O’Donovan, Managing Director for Statkraft Ireland. “The Irish electricity grid is operating successfully with renewable energy levels of up to 65 percent at any given time, which proves we are not that far away from having a grid system which can be run almost exclusively on renewable energy.”
In fact, according to EirGrid, Ireland set a new record of 4,000 MW of wind generation, covering 72 percent of demand across the island on Dec. 18. However, according to the EirGrid website, the 2030 target of 70 percent renewables will require the grid to handle about 95 percent intermittent wind and solar at different times, making energy storage even more essential for system decarbonization.