Statkraft Ireland Energy Storage Site
ESB Networks announces milestone of 1GW of energy storage for Irish network. Image: Statkraft

ESB Networks has announced that Ireland’s electricity grid now has 1GW of energy storage available from different battery energy storage system (BESS) assets.

This figure includes 731.5MW of battery storage projects and 292MW from Turlough Hill pumped storage power station – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Large-scale battery energy storage projects and Turlough Hill pumped storage power stations combine to provide flexibility and support more renewables in Ireland’s electricity system.

Energy storage facilities are connected across the grid to both the transmission and distribution systems, which are managed by EirGrid and ESB Networks. As it stands, peak demand on Ireland’s electricity system is approximately 5.5 GW.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Ireland’s electricity demand has increased by 2%, making it one of the few countries in Europe to record an increase in 2023. Across the year, coal generation fell 17% YoY, alongside a modest 1.2% decline in gas-fired output.

Ireland is forecast to have the highest growth rate in Europe for electricity demand and consumption, with an average annual increase of almost 7%.

Data centre demand

Interestingly, data centres are expected to contribute hugely to this, with the nation braced to see a rapid expansion in this sector. Irish data centres are estimated to have consumed around 5.3TWh of electricity in 2022, up by 31% from 2021.

This is around 17% of the country’s electricity demand and almost equal to the consumption in all urban dwellings, the IEA said.

With a strong pipeline of further energy storage projects, Ireland’s electricity system is becoming more flexible, facilitating a transition to renewable energy usage.

Nicholas Tarrant, managing director of ESB Networks, said: “This really is a significant milestone for us at ESB Networks and our partners involved in connecting one Giga Watt of energy storage to Ireland’s electricity network.

“The figure includes sites like ESB’s Turlough Hill hydroelectric station, but what we have seen in recent years is a major push by the wider industry to deliver large-scale battery energy storage projects that we have been able to support through network connections.”

Bobby Smith, head of Energy Storage Ireland, remarked: “Energy storage is a key enabler of our clean energy future, and this achievement is a big step on that journey. Our members are delivering the energy storage projects alongside ESB Networks that are needed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and drive down energy prices while ensuring a secure, stable electricity system.”

This article first appeared on Solar Power Portal’s sister publication Current±.