UK-based renewable energy group Gaelectric has received a further €8.28m in funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) of the EU to develop a 330MW energy storage project in Northern Ireland.

Located on the Islandmagee peninsula near the port town of Larne in Northern Ireland, the new project uses compressed air energy storage technology (CAES). The funding will be used by Gaelectric to drill an appraisal well and conduct detailed studies into the design and commercial structure.

Gaelectric's energy storage head Keith McGrane said: “€8.28m in additional EU financing is a major boost to the project and a further validation of the importance and need for the project, both for Northern Ireland and for wider UK and European energy markets.

“The project will provide critical generation capacity of 330MW for periods of up to six to eight hours duration, which is enough to meet the electricity needs of over 200,000 homes, and create demand on the system of 250MW."

The Larne CAES project will store energy in the form of compressed air in specially tailored caverns created within geological salt deposits. These are located at depths of nearly 1.5km below ground level at the northern end of the Islandmagee peninsula on the east coast of Northern Ireland.

The new compressed air energy storage project will help provide large-scale generation capacity to Northern Ireland, thereby encouraging production of electricity from renewables, as well as increasing energy security in both Ireland and the UK.