All-Ireland project to stress-test renewable energy storage for smart grids

4 Oct 2017

Image: wzlv/Shutterstock

An all-Ireland research project aims to see if Ireland can match its investment in renewable energies with the storage solutions it badly needs.

The island of Ireland is increasing its amount of renewable energy production through initiatives such as offshore and onshore windfarms, but researchers are now asking whether our energy grid is up to the task.

Led by Queen’s University, Belfast, ImpRESS is a UK-Ireland industry-led collaborative research project to demonstrate battery-based energy storage on the Irish grid.

The belief is that while the opportunities for renewable energy systems are increasing, the intermittency, uncertainty and variability of renewables generation poses a number of challenges.

The most pressing among them is that simply adding renewable energy to the grid won’t solve our clean energy demand without a back-up system in place to store that energy.

Already, companies such as Tesla have begun selling large batteries for homes that allows for energy to be stored and used when the wider grid fails.

ImpRESS launch

Representatives from Energia, Williams Industrial Services, Bombardier, Green Lizard Technologies, IERC and Queen’s University at the launch of the ImpRESS energy storage project. Image: Andrew Towe/Parkway Photography

Ireland a good testbed for energy storage

The ImpRESS project, launched at an International Energy Research Centre (IERC) event, will now collaborate with a number of private companies to develop renewable energy storage technologies.

These include Bombardier, Flow Energy Solutions, Williams Industrial Services, Green Lizard Technologies and Energia, all of whom will work on demonstrating a redox flow battery through the ImpRESS project.

Another aspect of the project will see a collaboration with Chinese energy producer Rongke Power to deploy a 125kW flow battery on an Irish test site with multiple renewable energy inputs.

Prof Tony Day, executive director of the IERC, said of the project: “Ireland has fluctuating energy dynamics and, as a consequence of being an island, the scale of the power system is such that it provides an excellent testbed for the evaluation of energy storage solutions.

“[ImpRESS] will deliver engineering recommendations capable of influencing future grid-code standards and electrical power system policy development.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic