The Array, located in Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus, is the largest advanced energy storage system in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The array represents a significant investment in the future of Northern Ireland’s energy infrastructure and is the first step in delivering a 100 MW energy storage facility that would provide £8.5 million in system savings per annum and the equivalent of 123,000 tonnes of CO2 eliminated each year .
Speaking after a tour of the facility, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said: “The energy environment is constantly changing and energy storage has the potential to benefit all of us by lowering costs, helping the environment and improving security of supply to our homes and businesses. It is also an important factor as we look to decarbonise our energy supplies. I thank AES and congratulate them on their achievements and wish them every success with their proposals for full-scale deployment of the Array.”
The Advancion array provides 10 MW of interconnected energy storage, equivalent to 20 MW of flexible resource, and utilises the company’s Advancion energy storage platform. Advancion 4, the latest design introduced in November 2015, is a complete, battery-based alternative to traditional peaking power plants and pumped hydroelectric storage projects that provides a dependable, smart and cost-competitive means to support a reliable, low carbon electricity system for the Northern Ireland economy.
Enterprise, Trade & Investment Minister Jonathan Bell welcomed the Array as an additional tool to help support security of supply for Northern Ireland. “AES has extensive experience in developing battery storage arrays. I am sure this project will provide valuable insight into the contribution this technology can make to manage our energy demands. Ability to meet demand for electricity is one of the highest priorities for any Government. Energy drives economies and having available a source of power which can respond quickly to help meet demand at peak times can make an important contribution to system security.”
AES UK & Ireland President, Carla Tully said, “As the global leader in battery energy storage, AES is proud to bring our Advancion technology to the UK and Ireland. We’ve seen unprecedented interest in our operating facility in Northern Ireland as a model for energy storage development around the world.”
Since 5 January 2016, the Array has been operating as a fully commercial project within the system operator’s existing Harmonised Ancillary Services system. Additionally, Innovate UK is providing Energy Catalyst funding for Queen’s University Belfast to investigate the full potential of energy storage to benefit the UK and Ireland electricity systems by analysing the impact of this array.
Mark Thompson, Innovate UK’s Lead Technologist for Energy Systems, said: “Northern Ireland has a much higher proportion of renewable electricity than the rest of the UK. As the proportion of low-cost renewables continues to grow and as grid-scale battery storage costs rapidly decrease, this project is an invaluable window into the future of the wider UK energy system. The AES project is therefore a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the network value and the business case for electricity storage at this scale in a real world environment.”
The 10 MW array is a crucial first step towards a planned 100 MW energy storage array adjacent to Kilroot Power Station, which would be among the largest in the world. Globally, AES owns and operates the world’s largest advanced energy storage fleet, with 116 MW in operation, and a further 268 MW in construction or late stage development.
Speaking at the launch Junior Minister, Jennifer McCann said: “I welcomed the opportunity to visit this important investment by AES Group. I understand this investment has resulted in local contractors and sub contractors helping to deliver this important pilot project. The visit today has provided a great opportunity to visit this operating facility which I can see from being here has attracted considerable interest from academia, regulators and industry. I wish everyone involved with this project every success.
Junior Minister Emma Pengelly said: “The Kilroot and Ballylumford plants provide approximately 70% of Northern Ireland’s installed generating capacity. The Array is the largest advanced energy storage system in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and represents a significant investment in the future of Northern Ireland’s energy infrastructure. I congratulate the AES team on their achievements and wish them every success with this highly innovative and important project.”