Ireland’s national planning body An Bord Pleanàla has approved a £122 million (€140 million) proposed battery storage facility set to be developed by Strategic Power Projects at Dunnstown, County Kildare.
The project will have a capacity of over 200MW, making it the single largest battery application in Ireland, the company said.
“We are delighted and encouraged by the positive outcome to the planning process which will offer the people of Ireland much needed renewable energy storage as the country works hard to reach the 80% renewable energy target by the end of the decade,” said Paul Carson, managing director of Strategic Power Projects.
“This is a national significant development. Security of supply and electricity blackouts have sadly become predictable headlines in Irish news titles, north and south. Battery-based energy storage is part of the solution. It can be quickly developed, is very cost effective and is the backbone of modern, resilient, and decarbonised energy systems.”
Strategic Power Projects has been developing its renewable and battery pipeline since partnering with investment firm Gresham House in October 2021. Upon signing the partnership, the two firms committed to develop a solar and storage portfolio with a combined capacity of over 1GW.
The proposed facility situated at Dunnestown makes up part of this agreement. Strategic Power said building work will begin as soon as connection to the grid has been achieved.
“Ireland has made enormous strides over recent years in the development of wind and solar energy, but there needs to be similar action taken to ensure that we have enough energy storage capacity to make efficient use of the renewable energy we produce, and to balance the grid as it takes on more and more renewable energy,” added Carson.
“The Dunnstown facility won’t solve Ireland’s storage problems on its own, but if the positive decision is a sign of things to come, then that is very positive news for the people of Ireland.”
Earlier this year, Strategic Power Projects submitted a planning application for a 125MW solar PV project in Swordletown, Ireland.
The company stated it would invest around £84 million (€100 million) in the project, which will deliver significant contributions to the local economy and community groups through the Irish government's Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS).
The RESS scheme is an initiative Carson labelled as “encouraging and supportive” in an interview with Solar Power Portal. He said: “I think that increasingly RESS has been seen by developers as a failsafe mechanism, if you like. There's a tremendous uplift in the interest in corporate PPAs in Ireland, I think it's following the lead in the GB market.
“You'll find that developers are looking at both routes to market with RESS and corporate PPAs and especially given where energy prices are at the minute. Corporate PPAs could be actually more attractive to developers in Ireland over the next few years.”