AES is a global leader in integrating energy storage into grids. In 2016 AES UK & Ireland launched their Kilroot Advancion® Energy Storage Array. At 10MW – equivalent to 20MW of flexible power - , this was the largest advanced energy storage system in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the first step towards a 100MW system.
Energy storage is going to be vital to the future management of our electricity system. Rather than generating power at the time of use, it will be increasingly important to store the variable energy generated by renewable power when it is not needed, and release it when it is needed. AES’s storage system can provide rapid response to changes in generation from renewable sources and if renewable generation is exceeding supply, storage can be used to absorb this spare energy, rather than grid managers curtailing and wasting that energy. This will make the system overall more efficient and cheaper for consumers in the long run. In Northern Ireland, this has meant that wind generation can be used more, and when completed the 100MW facility will save 123,000 tonnes of carbon and £8.5m every year for consumers.
It is not just consumers that can see the benefit of growing storage facilities in the UK and Northern Ireland. In the development of Kilroot, the entire installation and all subcontractors were from Northern Ireland. Developing the industry here can build up UK companies and supply chains which in turn can supply AES’s international operations as well as others.
Despite the contribution that energy storage can make to the system, saving carbon and money, as well as supporting the manufacturing industry, there is still not enough clarity of policy to drive forward the most valuable investments.
Looking forward to the Emissions Reduction Plan, Claire Addison, Government & Regulatory Affairs Manager at AES, said “Energy storage supports the 5th Carbon Budget ambition, we just need to make sure the true value of system flexibility is factored in to get there.”