‘Inadequate energy storage policy puts Ireland’s renewable targets at risk’

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A new report has unveiled critical hurdles obstructing the progress of long duration energy storage (LDES) in Ireland, potentially jeopardising its ambitious renewable energy objectives.

Released by Cornwall Insight in collaboration with the Climate Change Advisory Council, the report identifies a policy vacuum as the primary impediment to the expansion of LDES infrastructure crucial for Ireland’s transition to renewables.

According to the findings, limited financial incentives, a lack of clear targets and deficiencies in market design are stifling advancements in LDES.

These barriers not only impede the deployment of necessary storage capacity but also pose a risk to Ireland’s target of deriving 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, according to the report.

EirGrid estimates that meeting this ambitious renewable energy target will necessitate approximately 2.4GW of LDES capacity by the end of the decade.

However, current figures reveal a stark contrast, with only 0.29GW of LDES operational on the Irish grid, exclusively sourced from a pumped storage hydro (PSH) facility located at Turlough Hill.

Analysts note that plans for an additional 0.36GW of PSH at Silvermines in Tipperary offer a glimpse of potential expansion, yet fall short of the scale required to meet future demand.

The pressing need to roll out LDES is underscored by the imminent surge in electricity consumption, as indicated by Cornwall Insight’s Single Electricity Market (SEM) Curve.

Projections reveal an uptick in demand within the SEM, expected to more than double from approximately 35TWh in 2024 to nearly 74TWh by 2050.

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