Mainstream Renewable Power to test innovative electricity storage system in cooperation with Enterprise Ireland
Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power, with assistance from Enterprise Ireland, will conduct a study to assess the commercial viability of attaching a large-scale storage device (such as a battery) to an operating wind farm in Ireland. If successful, the system could provide the solution to the single biggest challenge faced by wind power generation in the world today; what happens when the wind doesn’t blow?
The Wind-Storage Hybrid Study, which will begin in September, will install a storage device (such as a battery) directly to an operating wind farm. The device will store electricity generated when there is no demand (at night for example) and release it when consumers need it. The new hybrid system could also significantly reduce the need for “spinning reserve” – the term used for expensive electricity plant which is often used to meet “spikes” in demand for electricity such as in the morning and in the evenings.
Joe Corbett, Mainstream’s Head of Technology said: “This is very exciting for the industry globally because if successful, it has the potential to revolutionise our electricity systems. The benefits of wind power are widely accepted; it’s a free fuel source, it’s good for the environment and it will never run out. Its biggest technical challenge is it’s only available when the wind blows. The aim of this new hybrid system is to change that.
He continued: “Interestingly, winds are often highest at night when people are sleeping. The hybrid system can store the electricity generated at night and release it onto the system in the morning when people are having their breakfast and demand for electricity spikes. Essentially it aims to match supply and demand more closely; something we can’t do right now with wind and solar power.”
Kevin Donnelly of Enterprise Ireland’s Cleantech Department said: “Enterprise Ireland is looking forward to the results from this project. Storage solutions will be a key enabler for the decarbonised power systems of the future and this assessment should provide valuable data to support appropriate investment.”
The Wind-Storage Hybrid Study will look at integrating wind generation with a mixture of flywheel, synchronous condenser and battery technologies to design a system which can:
- Facilitate the controlled dispatch of electricity
- Minimise curtailment
- Enable wind generators to participate in the ancillary services market
- Store electricity at off-peak times when there is no demand
The objective of the study is to assess the commercial viability of installing two megawatts of storage connected directly to a 10 megawatt operating wind farm and operating the Hybrid Station in the current Single Electricity Market. The study will also develop a general case model for use on other systems internationally.