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US-Irish alliance for compressed air energy storage across Europe

Thu, 11/21/2013 - 09:46 -- Ruth Williams

Irish renewable energy firm, Gaelectric, has joined forces with Dresser-Rand, a US engineering group to implement compressed air energy storage (CAES) projects across Europe – starting in Northern Ireland.

The initial project will be the most advanced European CAES in Europe comprising 268MW twin power train storage and electricity generation facility that is due for commissioning in 2017. The project is expected to require £300m (US$477m) investment.

Dresser-Rand will project manage as well as overseeing scheduling and technical support services to include front end engineering and design in 2014 at the Larne, County Antrim site.

The compressed air system stores energy in the form of compressed air in caverns created within geological salt layers located typically at depths of between 450m and 850m beneath the Earth’s surface.

Energy is stored by compressing air during periods of low energy demand utilising compressor technology located at ground level. This stored energy is then available for use in subsequent periods of higher energy demand when it can be released and applied in generating power using significantly lower amounts of natural gas to generate peak time electricity.