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Statkraft unveils latest deal to manage energy storage projects in Northern Ireland

09 Mar, 2021

Batteries provide key to managing grid stability. Europe’s leading producer of renewable energy and route-to-market services, Statkraft, has announced it is to provide market-access and optimisation services for 100MW of battery energy storage projects in Northern Ireland on behalf of Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (“Gore Street”). 

Statkraft previously developed and built the first large scale storage battery (11MW) in County Kerry, Ireland in 2019 and is currently commissioning a second larger project (26MW) nearby.  This deal, covering two 50MW projects with Gore Street, follows Statkraft’s recent announcements of an additional 68MW of market-access agreements in the Republic of Ireland, and further strengthens Statkraft’s position as a leading and innovative provider of grid-services and route-to-market offerings within Ireland and the UK.

The two 50MW projects, which are the largest energy storage projects in Northern Ireland, were developed jointly by Gore Street and investment and asset-management company, Low Carbon, and successfully energised on schedule in December despite a period of site closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statkraft will provide overall market access and trading optimisation services for the assets, helping to manage the projects in the integrated single electricity market and maximise the value achieved from the battery storage projects across a range of services.

Under the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) and EirGrid’s DS3 System Services programme, the Gore Street battery energy storage projects will provide rapid frequency response and reserves to the national electricity grid within milli-seconds in the event of a sudden drop-off in generation or supply, as well as being able to trade in the wholesale energy markets, using Statkraft’s automated trading platform, UNITY.

The sites, located near Drumkee, County Tyrone and Mullavilly, County Armagh, will be critical in supporting Northern Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon electricity system. This fast-responding, low-carbon flexibility will directly help to maintain system stability by rapid power injection or absorption whilst accommodating greater levels of renewable energy.

Nick Heyward, Head of Energy Storage, for Statkraft said: “We are very pleased to be working with Gore Street to optimise and manage these important storage assets in the market, which will provide a key source of low-carbon flexibility in the Northern Irish electricity system. The projects will add significantly to our growing portfolio of flexible assets across both Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is expected to surpass 200MW this year.

Critical to the success of our optimisation of flexible assets has been the ongoing development of our UNITY Virtual Power Plant platform. Through a combination of advanced algorithmic trading, with 24/7 expert ‘human’ trader supervision, UNITY ensures that the storage flexibility is deployed and traded into the right markets at the right time. That might be DS3 System Services which are required most at times of high renewables output, or it might be periods of high volatility in the wholesale energy markets, where the storage flexibility is well placed to support balancing of the system at peak times.

This not only helps ensure the best value from storage assets today; but also helps reduce risk and mitigate the impacts of any future changes in DS3 services in the future.”

Gore Street’s sites join around 500MW of third-party distributed flexible generation and battery storage capacity which Statkraft already optimises alongside nearly 4000 MW of pre-dominantly third-party renewables generation across Ireland and the UK. Statkraft’s fully-automated trading platform, UNITY, integrates intermittent renewable generation and flexible assets in order to support customers, System Operators and the whole market to help accelerate the transition to a sustainable, zero-carbon future system.

Alex O'Cinneide, CEO of Gore Street Capital, investment manager of Gore Street Energy Storage Fund, commented:

“We are delighted to have partnered with Statkraft on this important project. As the largest energy storage assets in Northern Ireland we believe Gore Street’s Drumkee and Mullavilly assets have a major role to play in securing the transformation of the Irish electricity market to one that is able to depend on much larger loads of intermittent sources of renewable generation, such as wind, effectively. Assets such as these will be significant ensuring the energy security of this market going forward and Gore Street is proud to be playing an active role in this transformation.”

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