Gaelectric receives €90m EU grant for energy storage project in Northern Ireland

3 April 2017 (Last Updated April 3rd, 2017 18:30)

Gaelectric has been awarded a €90m grant by the European Union (EU) to carry out works under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for its energy storage project near Larne in Northern Ireland.

The energy storage project uses compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology to compress and store air within specially designed caverns developed within naturally occurring salt deposits deep underground. These deposits are located on the east Antrim coast of Northern Ireland.

In a statement, the EU said: “A €90m EU grant will support the implementation of this innovative energy storage project, which will contribute to system flexibility and stability, as well as facilitate the large-scale penetration of renewables into energy markets.”

Once operational, the project will be capable of generating 330MW of energy for six to eight hours and will also create 250MW of demand on the system.

Gaelectric's commercial director Joe O’Carroll said: “While clearly delighted with this latest award from the EU, we view this as an important endorsement of the contribution that the project will make towards improving the efficiency and sustainability of electricity transmission systems in Britain and Ireland.

"A €90m EU grant will support the implementation of this innovative energy storage project."

“This project is the first of a pipeline of projects employing CAES technology which Gaelectric is working on at several locations across Europe.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the authorities in Northern Ireland, with local communities and with the European Commission (EC) and the CEF Coordination Committee in bringing the project to fruition.”

Gaelectric’s energy storage project was also awarded two previous grants of a total value of €15m from the EU in 2015 and 2016.

The current award forms part of the EC’s proposal to invest €444m in priority European energy infrastructure projects.

In addition to connecting European energy networks, the projects will also enhance energy supply security and contribute to sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the EU.