Energy giant Statkraft has just completed building a €20 million battery to support electricity supply from wind farms.
The Norwegian utility, one of several with plans to build wind farms and other power supply plants in the Republic, said on Tuesday that it had completed its second large-scale battery project here.
The Kelwin-2 26 mega watt battery cost €20 million to build. The facility is located in Tarbert, Co Kerry, and will be used to hold electricity for supply to homes and businesses when it is needed.
Statkraft has a contract with national electricity grid operator Eirgrid to provide power in the event of sudden drop-offs in supply.
Kevin O'Donovan, the Norwegian company's managing director for Ireland, said Statkraft's first battery at Kilathmoy, on the Kerry-Limerick border, was called on three times in January.
“On numerous occasions over the past year the unit has also responded to short-term frequency drops to inject electricity into the national grid in a fraction of one second,” he said.
“Irish batteries are providing the fastest active power reserves responses anywhere in the world today.”
The company’s batteries are used to maintain the frequency of electricity supply to balance power supply from wind energy with demand .
Statkraft explained that the battery’s main purpose was not to store large amounts of wind-generated electricity, but to “respond instantly” to fluctuations caused by increasingly intermittent power supply.
The unit shares a connection to the national grid with a nearby wind farm. Statkraft said that Kelwin-2 would provide “ultra-fast active power reserves to the grid”.
Statkraft plans to build a 500 mega watt wind farm close to Dublin in the Irish Sea, among other projects. It built its first on-shore wind and battery plants in the Republic in 2019.
The group is Europe’s biggest supplier of renewable energy, with wind, hydro and solar plants across the continent. It employs 4,500 people in 17 countries.