Twenty homes in Dingle, Co. Kerry, are to test the potential of a new storage technology to support the use of variable renewable energy supply resources and smart connection to the Irish electricity grid. The new €1.12m StoreNet project was officially launched at an International Energy Research Centre (IERC) industry workshop at Tyndall National Institute this morning. StoreNet will install residential battery storage systems to operate in the form of a virtual power plant in Dingle to integrate with energy supply and demand management and operate at scale across a community. StoreNet is an industry-led collaborative research project that includes Electric Ireland, ESB Networks and Solo Energy and demonstrates battery-based energy storage within Irish homes on the Irish grid.
The project aims to reduce energy costs for residents, relieve pressure on the grid during peak times, and contribute to our transition to a sustainable energy future. Residents who generate electricity from renewable resources on their premises will store excess energy in the battery, and deploy their stored energy rather than energy from the Irish grid during peak times. Additional ‘smart’ charging of the batteries during off-peak times will not only relieve pressure on the grid but will also reduce the cost of supply to the residents. From a commercial perspective, the project will identify the energy services that can be delivered by a distributed energy storage network and assess the business model in terms of 100% renewable electricity, retail sales and grid services.
Professor Tony Day, Executive Director of IERC, commented: “The StoreNet project is serving generators and consumers within Ireland’s electricity grid by providing multiple valuable energy and power services. Under the leadership of the Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher at IERC, Dr. Shafi Khadem, the research results from our StoreNet project have the potential to increase the use of variable renewable resources, enhance the self-generation and effective consumption of electricity, and aid our electricity grid stability, reliability and resilience.”
Brian Ryan, Head of Customer Innovation at Electric Ireland said; “Electric Ireland is delighted to be a member of the StoreNet consortium project at this, a very exciting stage in battery storage development. Interest in the storage of energy is growing with numerous methods of storage being trialled across the globe. Electricity generated by renewable means is increasing, and storing this intermittently generated power provides a major challenge and also potentially, many benefits for energy customers. With battery storage in domestic installations at a very early stage, this project will provide an in-depth understanding of the application of battery technology, and will provide critical data for possible future battery applications.”
StoreNet aligns with ESB Networks’ Innovation Strategy, which aims to meet the challenges of a changing energy market, deploying technology to help drive the shift to a low-carbon future. Jonathan Sandham, Smart Networks Manager, ESB Networks described how “The StoreNet Project will allow ESB Networks to test how the smart network of the future will operate with the installation of battery storage in new and existing customer’s premises. This project ties in with the recent announcement by ESB Networks that will see Dingle as a demonstration town for new technology and communication projects and will offer great insight into how battery storage can be utilised into the future for the benefit of customers and ESB Networks.”
At the project launch, Liam Breathnach, Solo Energy’s Chief Technology Officer described how “Solo Energy combines distributed energy storage, cloud-based control and analytics to deliver on our goal of facilitating the progression to a 100% renewable energy future. Our control platform allows us to aggregate, control and operate residential batteries across the grid as a Virtual Power Plant to work in harmony with local renewable generation for the benefit of customers, electricity suppliers and system operators alike. The StoreNet project will enable the provision of services to the grid that would otherwise have been addressed by network investment, as well as informing the shaping of such local flexibility markets into the future.”
Energy storage technologies have the potential to support and supply a range of services to Ireland’s energy system and support our decarbonisation and transition to a low carbon economy. Energy storage technologies absorb energy and store it for a period of time before releasing it to supply energy or power services. Through this process, storage technologies can aid Irish electricity systems’ integration and improve the management between energy supply and demand. Dr. Matthew Kennedy, Head of Strategy and Business at the IERC described how “the research will focus on the technology, policy, and economic barriers that hinder energy storage deployment. StoreNet will engage Irish consumers and identify the most appropriate distribution grid conditions and typologies of buildings that can mostly benefit from the installation of integrated battery systems.”