Advanced energy storage: proven and at the ready

AES Energy Storage Mark Miller, AES Vice President, UK and Ireland Markets, explains the technology’s potential.

As a community of both consumers and suppliers in the all-Island electricity market, AES has a shared interest in the growing challenge of delivering reliable, competitive electricity while meeting one of the most ambitious renewable targets in the EU. The constrained nature of the Northern Ireland transmission system, impending changes to the SEM to comply with the EU Target Model and additional environmental requirements from the Industrial Emissions Directive make meeting this ambitious goal especially challenging.

In an effort to meet this challenge, the system operator, SONI, is working with stakeholders, AES included, to improve the performance and flexibility of our system. Some of this improvement will be accomplished through upgrades to existing generating stations to improve their responsiveness but analysis indicates that more highly available, flexible and low emission power resources will be needed if we are to deliver this.

Building on more than 20 years of service from AES in Northern Ireland, our Kilroot and Ballylumford generation businesses focus on serving the all-Island market with safe, reliable, and competitive energy solutions. As part of our commitment to the market, AES is evaluating a range of technologies to improve our existing power stations. However, one of the more compelling opportunities involves the deployment of advanced battery-based storage arrays. Initial feasibility and engineering studies indicate AES is able to support several hundred MWs of advanced energy storage at the Kilroot and Ballylumford stations. Our assessment of work to date by AES and others in the energy storage field has found that:

• Energy storage is a growing part of reliable and efficient power systems. In fact, AES now has over 170MW of energy storage resources in commercial service across projects in North and South America. These projects, some in service for several years, have near- continuous availability (at least 97 per cent) without burning fuel and are able to deliver power with a degree of speed and accuracy unmatched by even the newest generating technologies.

• Leading power markets around the world are finding ways to reduce costs to customers by using energy storage in existing market regimes. From the 3,000MW Chilean power system to the 100,000MW PJM system in the US, transmission system operators have found ways to substitute energy storage for traditional power sources in ways that prove storage is competitive today. This approach allows system operators to adapt and learn from energy storage solutions in commercial operation today−even while they continue their stakeholder process to fully integrate storage in the future.

Building on years of commercial grid energy storage experience, AES is able to deliver reliable, cost-effective power solutions based on this innovative technology. Critically, for Northern Ireland, the nature of the AES solution allows it to take advantage of existing infrastructure and can be deployed in less than one year. Through continuing dialogue with the system operator and Regulatory Authority, we are focused on creating the necessary market mechanisms that will allow the benefits of this innovative technology to be realised expeditiously and contribute to lower energy costs for the consumer.

High reliability of our transmission system ultimately supports economic growth and improved quality of life for everyone. Our existing AES power stations already provide key reliable services and we believe that the addition of advanced energy storage solutions will enable us to reliably and economically serve Northern Ireland now and well into the future.

AES Kilroot Power Limited Larne Road, Carrickfergus Co Antrim, BT38 7LX

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