Renewable Energy Storage Plant may Revolutionise Power Supply
Posted on: 13/04/2015

An energy storage plant in Ireland may soon revolutionise the way in which we consider renewable energy and its ability to supply electricity.

The proposed plant will use a motor-generated flywheel to capture kinetic energy from the solar-grid when it provides excess energy, this energy will then be utilised when there are shortfalls in the production of energy.

This plant offers a resolution to the common dilemma of how to maximise the potential of renewable energy resources when surplus is available, something that often occurs on windy or sunny days. At current when energy shortfalls occur from renewable resources it is compensated for through the use of fossil fuel generators or gas/coal-fired power plants, however the new project will allow for storage and delayed use of the renewable energy.

Jake Bracken, a research manager for the Schwungrad Energie project said: “The hybrid flywheel is a disruptive innovation with the potential to revolutionise the system services market, decoupling its provision from electricity generation by delivering energy-less system services.

“In Ireland we have a 50% maximum limit on the amount of intermittent renewable energy that we can take on at any one point. But Eirgrid [the Irish transmissions systems operator] is looking at increasing it to 75% over the next decades and our system has the potential to facilitate that.”

The technology of the flywheel will be closely watched in Brussels where the EU energy union resides, they hope to develop the technology further in order to allow people to sell their own surplus electricity produced from house solar panels or electric cars to the general electricity network. This would allow for the reduction of dependence and power of energy utilities, but would need significant investment immediately.

EU’s vice president for energy union Maros Sefcovic said that currently “you have many streets in the EU where, if you plugged in five electric cars at the same time, you would blackout the neighbourhood… we will soon be talking about many thousands of electric cars on our roads and for that we need to make sure our grids are smart, resilient and can handle new demands that are not here today.”

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