Irish energy storage firm Gaelectric has been awarded an additional €8.28 million in European Union (EU) funding for its compressed air energy storage (CAES) project in Northern Ireland.
The funding comes from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
Gaelectric’s 330MW CAES project, near the port town of Larne in Northern Ireland, will store energy in the form of compressed air in especially engineered caverns within geological salt deposits at depths of around 1.5 kilometres below ground level.
On completion, the Larne facility will provide generation capacity of 330MW for periods of up to eight hours, enough to meet the electricity needs of over 200,000 homes, the company said.
Gaelectric received a separate EU grant of €6.5 million for the work in July 2015, covering front-end engineering and design. The latest award is for the drilling of an appraisal well, and studies into the structure of the project.
The European Commission said the project, one of nine recommended for financing under the EU’s CEF programme, will “increase energy security and help end the isolation of EU countries from EU-wide energy networks.”
A total of €263 million has been earmarked for the nine CEF trans-European energy infrastructure projects.
“It will be the first in a pipeline of CAES projects which Gaelectric is developing across the rest of the UK and into Europe, each designed to help system operators meet generation needs and the challenges of increasing renewable generation being connected to Europe’s power systems,” said Keith McGrane, head of energy storage at Gaelectric.
“Northern Ireland and Larne will be the vanguards for safe, flexible and technologically advanced energy storage.”
Gaelectric struck a deal with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla last year to joint test utility-scale storage to facilitate the integration of renewables onto the grid.