Engie and ESB seek to profit amid surge in energy storage planning applications
French giant Engie and the ESB are among companies seeking to build large-scale energy storage projects here, amid a surge in planning applications for such storage facilities.
Analysis by PHR, a planning and research consultancy, shows there has been at least 40 applications since June 1 last year.
Its analysis of Irish planning databases revealed no such applications between January 2015 and May 2017.
Storage is seen as one of the Irish energy sector's great needs. It's deemed beneficial because it enables power to be held back in reserve and deployed when needed.
That helps mitigate problems with renewable technologies such as wind, where power output varies depending on the weather conditions.
Engie, headed up by CEO Isabelle Kocher, has applied to build a battery energy storage system with the potential to store as much as 100 megawatts (MW) in Carlow.
Meanwhile, the ESB has applied to build a facility with around 30 MW of storage capability at Ringsend in Dublin, and has also applied to build a number of other storage projects.
Irish company Lumcloon Energy is to invest €150m in two battery storage technology centres in the Midlands.
The firm has partnered with Korean firms Hanwha Energy Corporation and LSIS to develop two 100MW sustainable energy projects at Lumcloon and Shannonbridge, in Co Offaly.
Earlier this year, Lumcloon boss Nigel Reams told the Irish Independent that the project "will provide essential back-up for Ireland's rapidly-expanding renewable energy sector".
"It's an insurance policy for the grid, which is moving to a high volume of renewables and switching off conventional plants, so they need a back-up.
"By putting our plant on the system it allows conventional plants to be turned off."
Another 100MW project has been granted permission in Kilkenny - the application was submitted by Greener Ideas Ltd, an entity jointly owned by Bord Gais Energy and Mountside Partners.
PHR, which provides market intelligence on a variety of sectors including renewable energy development to clients in the public and private sector, said the majority of projects are located immediately beside or close to substations. Seven applications submitted since June 1 2017 have been granted permission, with one appealed to An Bord Pleanála.