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1GW of solar and battery storage projects on Irish electric grid targeted by Gresham House partnership

By Alice Grundy
Strategic Power Project’s finance director Iain Lees and managing director Paul Carson. Image: Strategic Power Projects.

UK-headquartered asset manager Gresham House has partnered Irish developer Strategic Power Projects to develop a solar and storage pipeline with a combined capacity of over 1GW.

These assets are to be located across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with locations secured close to major electricity grid infrastructure hubs. The two countries on the island share a grid network.

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The agreement will provide Gresham House with exclusivity to acquire the utility-scale solar and battery energy storage system (BESS) assets once fully consented. Funds under the management of Gresham House are intending to own the assets for their full operational lives.

Development activities are to be undertaken by Strategic Power Projects, with the two companies to tender for construction and operational phase services once the projects are fully consented.

Strategic Power Projects has recently secured planning approval for a number of utility-scale solar PV and battery energy storage sites, one of which it claimed is to become the largest hybrid project in the country once built.

Paul Carson, managing director, Strategic Power Projects said that the partnership with Gresham House allows the company to build a “powerful combination” of funding, knowledge and experience of developing the highest quality assets.

“These are critical times for renewable energy in Ireland. The concerning uncertainty regarding energy only serves to emphasise the need for more renewables development with a particular focus on battery energy storage in providing stability to the grid,” he said.

Listed specialist asset management group Gresham House has a dedicated fund, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund, which invests in battery storage, along with various other funds across other sectors, including renewables.

In an interview published in June in our quarterly journal PV Tech Power and reproduced in part on this site, Paddy Phelan, president of the Irish Energy Storage Association noted that energy storage is relatively new on the island, with the first projects to be handed contracts through the DS3 grid services scheme set up by high voltage grid operator EirGrid to help meet Ireland’s 2020 goal of sourcing 40% of its electricity coming online early this year.

However, development in the past couple of years has been fairly rapid. A few days ago energy storage technology provider Fluence and state-owned power group ESB were reported to be working to develop the next 210MWh in a total 308MWh portfolio, some of which is already online.

A single-site 100MW battery system which came online in December 2020 in Ireland’s County Offaly as part of a partnership between local developer Lumcloon Energy and South Korea’s Hanwha Group, is one of the largest battery projects in Europe so far.

Large-scale battery assets on the island of Ireland are already proving their worth, with Statkraft’s 11MW Kilathmoy and 26MW Kelwin-2 BESS projects kicking in within 180 milliseconds of the occurence of a serious frequency event on the grid in May. They injected power to the grid to help stabilise the network as the  longest under-frequency event seen on the Irish grid in years took place.

Additional reporting for by Andy Colthorpe.

This story first appeared on Solar Power Portal.

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