Wexford windfarm saves enough energy to power 70 homes for a year

3 Nov 2020

Image: © engel.ac/Stock.adobe.com

Energy optimisation technology from UCD spin-out NovoGrid was tested on a windfarm in Wexford.

ESB has completed a two-year pilot project at a windfarm in Co Wexford using tech from Irish software company NovoGrid. The Richfield windfarm, owned by SSE Renewables, saved more than 300,000 kWh of energy with the help of NovoGrid’s GridBoost technology.

The company said that this is enough electricity to power 70 Irish homes for one year and that the power would have previously been lost in delivery on the grid.

GridBoost was created by Prof Andrew Keane and his team at University College Dublin (UCD) to automate and remove inefficiencies in renewable generators and electrical grid operations. NovoGrid is a university spin-out company that was set up in 2014 to commercialise the product.

Keane is a professor in UCD’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He said that the pilot project completed in Wexford was a “key milestone” for NovoGrid.

“The world is shifting away from fossil fuel to decentralised energy resources and technologies such as GridBoost are needed by grid operators and renewable generators to manage that transition in an efficient and rapidly scalable way,” he added.

A 2015 report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland claimed that installing GridBoost across Irish windfarms would save energy customers €2.2m in costs and 16,300 tons of CO2 per year. GridBoost has already been installed in windfarms in the UK and the system is currently being trialled in Germany.

NovoGrid’s chief commercial officer, Paul Manning, said that while today’s announcement is positive, challenges remain. “While we now have successfully demonstrated GridBoost in a pilot in Ireland, the Irish regulations are over two decades old and have failed to keep pace with technology.

“We cannot currently sell GridBoost in Ireland until they are updated. We would ask the Government, in light of the new Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill, to prioritise this quick win for Ireland towards achieving the vital 7pc reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Manning added that NovoGrid will focus on growing its sales in the UK and “other advanced markets”.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021