Batteries could save electricity customers a total of €34 million a year, a new study says.
Energy companies are beginning to instal battery systems that can store electricity to help ensure steady supplies from renewable generators.
A new study, The missing link – the value of energy storage in an all-island market, calculates that the technology could knock €34 million off the cost of generating electricity across Ireland.
The report explains that batteries can provide electricity when there is not enough wind or solar power to meet demand.
At the same time, they can take and store power that would otherwise be wasted during spells when renewable electricity is plentiful.
Long duration storage, which last for four to six hours, can help balance periods of high and low wind speeds.
Wind speeds are either very low or very high during half the year. Typically, spells of high or low wind last about 20 hours.
Paddy Phelan, president of the Irish Energy Storage Association, which commissioned the study, noted that everyone understood the need for more wind and solar electricity generators.
“But not many are aware of the crucial role of energy storage to allow this to happen,” he said.
“Energy storage is vital to provide a low emissions source of firm back-up capacity to ensure security of power supply.”
The report shows that the Irish system needs 1,900 mega watts of storage, which would cost €128 million to build, but save a total of €162 million, for a net €34 million gain.
Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State at the Department of Housing and Local Government, will launch the report on Monday at the offices of non-profit advisors, 3 Counties Energy Agency, in the Kilkenny Research and Innovation centre.
Swedish engineering consultancy AFRY completed the study for the Irish Energy Storage Association.