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Statkraft demonstrates the crucial role of large-scale battery storage to ensure security of electricity supply in Ireland

28 Jul, 2022

Statkraft, a leading provider of market access and optimisation services, and Europe’s largest renewable power generator, has announced its successful participation in the largest dispatch to date of power from battery storage into Ireland’s electricity market.

Ireland faces several challenges in its electricity network to ensure the power system works reliably, as it moves from conventional fossil fuel plants to renewable energy. In the near-term, the island of Ireland is facing a significant potential shortage of generation in upcoming winters. This is because of the increasing unreliability of some existing older high-carbon plants, non-delivery of previously contracted capacity, and high electricity demand, including from a number of datacentres sited in Ireland, which are high users of power.

The concerns around tight capacity margins have prompted the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to initiate a programme of work to ensure security of supply is maintained. This includes the procurement of 450MW of temporary emergency generation for the winter 2023/24 period, which is likely to be provided by fossil-gas fired generation, to be used at times of emergency.

Despite a growing installed base of low-carbon energy storage technologies, totalling around 650MW, energy storage in Ireland has not been actively used to help towards these security of supply issues, with it being held in reserve for supporting system stability instead.

However, the system operator, EirGrid, has recently been looking to change this through trialling the use of energy storage to support the system by discharging the battery power at times of reduced margin and system stress.

During the early evening of 14th July when energy margins were tightest, EirGrid called on Statkraft to leverage its significant portfolio of energy storage projects under management, to provide over 60MWh of energy across two hours, which is equivalent to powering over 60,000 households during the evening peak period.

This was then followed by an unplanned dispatch of power from a smaller number of storage units during the evening peak on 18th July, when the system experienced tight margins again in conditions that led to an amber alert during the warm weather.

Statkraft plays a significant role in managing and optimising energy storage in Ireland on behalf of a number of customers. We manage nearly 40% of the overall storage capacity operating on the island on behalf of asset owners, which is optimised by Statkraft’s proprietary automated trading optimisation platform, Unity.

Energy storage is key to enabling higher deployment of renewable energy, through providing low-carbon flexibility and ensuring grid stability, which will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and keep energy bills down for consumers. As one of the fastest-responding, low-carbon technologies, battery storage is effective at providing a number of different services to the electricity system, including reserves in the event of a sudden drop-off in generation or demand, but also reliable low-carbon capacity to support security of supply.

Nick Heyward, Statkraft’s Head of UK Storage – Markets, says: “It is a welcome development to see larger amounts of storage being dispatched to support Ireland’s electricity market at critical times. I am delighted that Statkraft was able to support such a significant demonstration of battery storage, and we look forward to seeing more of our customers’ assets contribute during the upcoming winter.” 

“However, there is more to do before storage assets can participate more actively in wholesale markets, not just at times of system stress, to further support the low-carbon transition and to reduce overall costs for consumers. We look forward to working further with EirGrid and our customers in this area.”