Industry leaders have been learning more about plans to site Europe’s ‘biggest battery’ in Carrickfergus and connect it to the powergrid.
Representatives from Innovate UK, Invest NI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) visited AES Kilroot Power Station to find out how the 10 megawatt array will reduce electricity costs for consumers and support security of supply.
The lithium ion battery (the same technology as found in mobile phones) project is receiving funding assistance from Innovate UK.
The project will also support grid flexibility as additional wind resources comes online.
Northern Ireland has one of the most ambitious targets in the EU for renewable electricity (40% by 2020) but is facing significant challenges in relation to system constraint costs, according to AES.
Dr Mike Pitts, lead specialist in sustainability at Innovate Uk, said: “The 10MW energy storage project was supported under Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst and is an exciting development for Northern Ireland and the UK as we seek innovative ways to cope with a changing energy infrastructure and incorporate more renewables.”
AES is working with the Northern Ireland System Operator to finalise details of the battery’s integration into the grid.
This project is the first phase in a planned 100MW energy storage system for Northern Ireland – among the largest in the world - and will propel continued investment in the UK and Ireland by The AES Corporation.
AES is also constructing a 100 MW array for Southern California Edison in the United States. The 100MW energy storage array in Northern Ireland is expected to save up to £8.5m per year in system operating costs.
Carla Tully, president of AES UK and Ireland, welcomed Innovate UK, Invest NI and DETI’s interest in the project.
She said: “We are excited to install Europe’s largest battery to date and begin using advanced energy storage to reduce the cost and carbon intensity of managing the UK and Ireland’s electric grids.
“AES provides safe, sustainable and affordable energy, and with this storage project, we’re helping to modernise national power systems.”
AES has eight years of experience with commercial energy storage, having implemented more than 200MW of advanced, grid-scale lithium ion battery resources to improve power systems globally, with a development pipeline of more than 2,000MW of energy storage systems.