Energy storage could cut Ireland’s annual carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes and reduce annual electricity bills by more than €85m according to a report published at Energy Storage Ireland’s annual conference in Dublin, which was opened by Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD. 

Delegates to the conference, which is sponsored by leading renewable energy and battery storage company Statkraft, will hear calls for the government to put in place an all-island energy storage strategy to accelerate the development of this critical energy infrastructure.

Game Changer: How Energy Storage is the key to a Secure, Sustainable, Clean Energy Future in Ireland was produced by energy market specialists Baringa.

It models how the Irish electricity system would operate in 2030 with 2,000 MW of energy storage on the system, 1,600 MW of which would be in the Republic of Ireland, and identifies how this would cut carbon emissions and reduce electricity prices.

All-island electricity system

Nearly 500 MW of energy storage is connected to the all-island electricity system today and more than 1 GW of projects have planning permission.

Bobby Smith, head of Energy Storage Ireland, said: “Energy storage helps ensure a safe, secure, supply of electricity for homes, businesses and farms across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“No electricity system can operate without a back-up and in Ireland this has traditionally been provided by fossil fuel generation.

“This new report from Baringa shows that over the next ten years we can store increasing amounts of wind and solar power in energy storage projects and use it to support the system instead of relying on coal or gas.”

The primary purpose of energy storage projects is to ensure a secure supply of electricity. If a fossil fuel generator should suddenly stop providing electricity there is an immediate risk to the system when replacement power must be found immediately to meet electricity demand.

Energy storage projects in Ireland can, and do, respond in milliseconds in such situations to ensure the lights stay on.

Greatest challenge

Smith continued: “The need to decarbonise our energy supply is the greatest challenge humanity faces but since the start of this year we have faced a new, different, and growing, energy crisis.

“The invasion of Ukraine and our dependency on imported fossil fuels means Irish electricity consumers have seen dizzying increases in their bills and the worst may yet be to come.

“Energy storage is an essential part of decarbonising our electricity system. It allows us to fully harness our renewable energy resources and replace expensive, polluting, fossil fuels.

“To accelerate the delivery of energy storage we need a coordinated strategy from policymakers in Ireland and Northern Ireland to redesign the electricity market to replace our fossil fuel back-up with a cleaner, cheaper, alternative.”