Irish ESB to add 100 MWh of Fluence storage to its portfolio


Irish state-owned utility Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has kicked off the year by signing a deal over two storage projects with a combined capacity of nearly 100 MWh. With the agreement, the utility enters the club of Irish utility-scale battery owners for the first time. The company said it would further expand its storage project portfolio in the future.

Ireland, which features significant wind capacity, has become a hotspot for grid-scale storage development in Europe. The country features 40% renewable energy capacity and it's looking to increase that figure to 75% over the next years — a shift that requires significant battery storage capacity.

In this vein, ESB will develop a 60 MWh system in Dublin, and an additional 38 MWh storage system at the Aghada Generating Station in Cork. The aim is to provide storage capacity in times of high wind conditions and stability in low wind times. The Irish state utility is working with energy storage solution company Fluence and EPC service providers Powercomm Group and Kirby Group to realize the two projects.

“Fluence has extensive experience delivering energy storage for the Irish electric grid, from the country’s first battery energy storage project to the fastest system response time in the world,” said Paul McCusker, vice president of EMEA for Fluence. “We look forward to working with ESB on projects that will help Ireland meet its ambitious clean energy goals and provide a more flexible, reliable and sustainable power system.”

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As the two projects were awarded in EirGrid’s T-4 capacity auctions, they have been primarily designed to fulfill a long-duration storage purpose. However, ESB said in its statement that it had equipped the systems with additional “flexible enabling technologies” with an eye to the country’s DS3 auctions. The later procurement exercise aims to provide flexibility and stability services, with other technical requirements such as a sub-second response time to frequency events. Fluence already has such systems in operation in Ireland.

During the T-4 auction, which closed in April 2019, EirGrid procured the required capacity to meet supply between October 2022 and September 2023. Hence, the commissioning date for the two projects is set for January 2022. The total awarded capacity reaches 7,412 MW, of which 212 are battery storage projects. The auction clearing price was €46.150/MW per year.

“Enabling technologies such as these fast-acting battery projects are crucial to support the grid and will facilitate ever more onshore wind, offshore wind and solar onto the electricity system in the coming decades,” said Paul Smith, head of asset development at ESB Generation and Trading. “These projects mark ESB’s first battery projects in Ireland which is another important step on the company’s low carbon transition journey, and in doing so, help us lead in the delivery of our national climate obligations.”

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