The Need for Energy Storage in Northern Ireland as a mechanism for Efficient Electrical Network Use
Prof NJ Hewitt & Dr P Griffiths (Ulster University)
Wind energy is the large scale renewable energy electricity provider of choice with a marriage of a mature cost effective technology and an excellent wind resource in Northern Ireland. However, given the variability of wind energy, its availability does not always coincide with our electricity needs. Furthermore the wind resource tends to be in the west of Northern Ireland, while the major demands are in the east. Finally, the electricity network has been designed for power stations in the north and east of Northern Ireland, with the network radiating outwards, with the consequential drop in capacity as it delivers electricity to the traditional lower demands of the west of Northern Ireland. Thus energy storage can meet a number of needs. For example, it can manage the variability of wind. It can also manage the load/demand relationship at certain points on the network ensuring the transmission network operates optimally and safely. Bearing these benefits in mind, this presentation discusses the technologies potentially of use in Northern Ireland, as well as their likely benefits. This presentation seeks to explore more cost effective integration of wind power (or other variable renewables) onto the electricity network, as the network is at a cross-roads. It explains that significant investment in capacity may be partially alleviated by energy storage and also may allow more renewable energy penetration onto the electricity market. It also discusses how market changes may have to reward flexibility management which storage can provide.