Europe chases GWh energy storage

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

By Jason Deign

Gaelectric’s Larne project funding approval this month has focused attention on European efforts to develop large-scale storage technologies that could rival pumped hydro.

Dublin, Ireland-based Gaelectric was granted €90m in European Union backing for a compressed air energy storage (CAES) project due to be built in Larne, east Antrim, on the Northern Irish coast.

The funding came on top of €15m in previous grants, the BBC reported. The Larne CAES project, due for completion around 2022, is a European project of common interest that will generate up to 330MW of power for up to six hours.

Being developed in association with Dresser-Rand, it will store compressed air in two caverns located in salt deposits below ground. When needed, the air would be re-heated using natural gas and, on expansion, drive a turbine.

The plant’s compressors will also provide up to 250MW of demand response to mop up excess wind capacity on the Northern Irish grid, which only has limited connections to electricity networks on Ireland and Great Britain. 
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