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Ireland now in its second electrification revolution.
ERLANGEN, GERMANY – April 27, 2021 – Safe, reliable energy storage is the key to delivering cleaner, more resilient, and more efficient power systems in Ireland – and it is this infrastructure that will enable Ireland to meet its 70x30 ambitions to source 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. That’s according to Fluence managing director Dr Marek Kubik, who was speaking as the company embarks on a close to 100 MWh portfolio of projects with the ESB for existing sites at Inchicore, Dublin 8 and Aghada, Co Cork. When completed, the portfolio will have the capacity to power approximately 100,000 Irish homes and businesses for several hours.
According to Aurora Energy Research, as of December 2020, Ireland had just 24 MW and 12MWh of grid-connected battery-based energy storage in operation. The Fluence projects are ESB’s first major battery projects and mark a step change in the scale of stored energy capacity. Previously, these operational systems in Ireland have been short duration and capable of providing a full power discharge for 30 minutes or less. Such short-duration assets are primarily tasked with providing corrections of supply and demand imbalances for seconds or minutes at a time (for instance when a power station unexpectedly trips offline). Both the ESB’s 38 MWh system at Aghada and its 60 MWh system at Inchicore are two-hour duration systems. These longer-duration systems provide a greater contribution to security of supply and can replace many of the services historically rendered by fossil-fuel powered generation assets, as well as providing the ability to shift more meaningful volumes of renewable energy from when it is generated to when it is needed, all of which will help Ireland speed its clean energy transition.
A joint venture of Siemens and the AES Corporation, Fluence is a battery-energy storage technology, software and services provider that delivers large-scale solutions to integrate renewable energy to the grid, provide transmission and distribution services, and deliver numerous other critical grid services. Fluence’s integrated hardware and software is technology-agnostic, sourcing batteries and system components from a diverse global supply chain to deliver the best battery-based solution for each customer’s needs.
ESB is the third major fleet customer for Fluence in Ireland. The global energy storage technology and services leader supplied the battery solution for Statkraft’s 34 MW Kilathmoy wind and storage hybrid project on the Limerick / Kerry border last year and a larger 63 MW hybrid project in Co Kerry completed in April 2021. Kilathmoy was Ireland’s first battery-based energy storage project and the project’s 11 MW storage solution is the fastest-responding grid-connected battery in the world. Fluence also supplied the technology for Kilroot power station in Antrim, which was the first commercial battery-based energy storage project in Europe. Fluence is also working with Gore Street Energy Storage Fund plc on multiple projects in Ireland, including the Porterstown and Kilmannock projects; Gore Street recently applied to Eirgrid to expand the Porterstown asset from 30 to 90 MW.
Commenting, Fluence Managing Director Dr Marek Kubik said: “Ireland – and the world - is now in its second electrification revolution – the first was getting people connected to the grid - now it’s about electrifying transportation and decarbonising the electricity system. Energy storage is the next leap forward in terms of quality and reliability for the system.”
Fluence's Gridstack™ energy storage system
He added: “70x30 essentially means that renewable energy needs to supply 70% of the total volume of Ireland’s electricity demand over the course of a year. Practically speaking, because wind and solar are variable (i.e., the wind isn’t always blowing and the sun isn’t always shining), the grid will have periods of very low renewable activity. To hit the goal of an average 70% renewable energy capacity, the grid will need periods of significantly higher than 70% renewable penetration: in other words, to hit the 70x30 goal, the Irish grid will need to be able to run nearly completely on renewables at times. That’s why Eirgrid is looking at a target of over 95% capacity from renewables in the near term. This is currently limited to 65%, so battery energy storage is essential for Ireland to meet this target.
“As the first truly digital asset on the electricity grid, battery energy storage enables not only a high degree of stability for intermittent resources, but also a high degree of control for overall grid stability and reliability. Batteries are the digital power plants of the future, vs the analog power plants of the past that ran on fossil fuels. They can be built quickly and cost-effectively to provide the requisite flexible, critical capacity needed to keep Ireland’s economy humming.”
Vice President for Fluence Europe, Middle East and Africa, Paul McCusker added: “Efficient battery storage is key to shaping Ireland’s electricity future and the technology we need to get to 70x30 is already in operation on the Irish grid, and is improving all the time. We are excited to continue to play a part in helping Ireland to achieve its ambitious 70x30 goal.”
Work has already started on the ESB project at Aghada and will imminently commence at Inchicore. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2021 for Aghada and Q2 of 2022 for Inchicore.
Fluence, a Siemens and AES company, is helping drive the global energy transition with grid-scale technology, products, and services that help customers maximize the value and performance of single projects or entire portfolios of assets. Fluence delivers energy storage and bidding optimization software products and engineering, delivery, and operational services to customers globally. The company has more than 5.6 GW of storage and optimized bidding assets in operation or contracted in 29 markets.
To learn more about Fluence, please visit: fluenceenergy.com
Director of Communications, Fluence