Irish energy storage project wins additional EU funding

The Larne compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology project in Northern Ireland has been awarded an additional $9.24m (€8.28m) financing from the EU.

The European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (‘CEF’) awarded the funds to the 330 MW energy storage project using CAES which is being developed by Gaelectric on the Islandmagee peninsula near Larne.
Larne compressed air energy storage
The Larne CAES Project was designated as a European Project of Common Interest (‘PCI’) in 2013, and has previously been awarded (in July 2015) EU grant support of €6.5 million for front end engineering and design studies. This latest award is for the drilling of an appraisal well, and detailed studies into the design and commercial structure of the project.

The project will involve storing energy in the form of compressed air in especially engineered caverns created within geological salt deposits at depths of approximately 1.5 km below ground level at the northern end of the Islandmagee peninsula. It will provide large scale generation capacity to Northern Ireland, helping to integrate electricity generation from renewables and enhance energy security in both the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Commenting, Keith McGrane, Head of Energy Storage at Gaelectric, said:à‚  “The Project will provide critical generation capacity of 330 MW for periods of up to 6 to 8 hours duration which is enough to meet the electricity needs of over 200,000 homes, and create demand on the system of 250 MW. It will also be the first in a pipeline of CAES projects which Gaelectric is developing across the rest of the United Kingdom and into Europe, each designed to help system operators meet generation needs and the challenges of increasing renewable generation being connected to Europe’s power systems.”

The project is one of nine recently recommended for financing under Europe’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) where a total of €263m will be invested in key trans-European energy infrastructure projects.

In its press release announcing the awards, the European Commission said: “the selected projects will increase energy security and help end the isolation of EU countries from EU-wide energy networks. They will also help enhance competition on the European energy market and thus contribute to ensuring that consumers get best value for their money.”

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