The Irish government has launched a consultation to help direct the development of a policy framework for energy storage.
As the renewable energy generation market continues to grow in Ireland there is an increasing urgency to develop energy storage solutions in a bid to provide flexibility to the energy market.
With most intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, the generation levels often fluctuate throughout the year and thus are not considered stable energy sources. By implementing energy storage, this can provide a flexible solution that can store energy and release it to the Irish energy system when there is increased demand.
As a result, the Irish Government has described the development of energy storage as a “critical system service needed to manage a low carbon electricity system”. Developing this will help provide flexibility to the wider Irish energy system and accommodate greater levels of renewable generation.
In a bid to incentivise the creation of energy storage in Ireland, the government is developing a policy framework to help deliver their objectives in this area of its Climate Action Plan which is targeting a proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030.
These objectives include supporting the integration of high volumes of renewable generation by providing additional energy storage to raise its overall capacity for the national energy system.
Another key objective of the policy framework is supporting security of supply via the storage of energy. This is to be achieved during times of excess supply and releasing it back to the grid when the system needs it most.
In doing so, the government hopes the development of energy storage could provide significant cost savings to electricity consumers.
Ireland’s renewable sector has seen significant growth in previous years and energy customers are now to receive €89.10 (£76.53) as part of renewable energy generators payback money, Cornwall Insight said in late August.
This came to fruition via the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy that is applied to electricity consumers to cover the costs of renewable support schemes introduced by the government.
One scheme paid for by the PSO levy is the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT). This works as a top up, meaning that if the market falls below the guaranteed price for the electricity generated, they receive an extra payment covered by consumers.
The higher the market prices are, the smaller these top up payments are expected to be.
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) scheme goes one step further. Whilst generators will receive similar top up payments, they will also make payments back if the market price is above the generator’s guaranteed price.