East Antrim power generator AES plans to build a huge battery facility that can store energy produced by wind farms.
The US-based owner of both Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations is proposing the 100 mega watt (MW) facility at Kilroot. The company claims the move will lower consumer prices, help meet renewable energy targets and improve the flexibility of the local grid.
It says that depending on “a suitable commercial agreement”, it could have the facility operational early in 2015.
AES has submitted a connection application to System Operator Northern Ireland, which operates the electricity grid in the Province.
Mark Miller, vice-president of AES UK and Ireland, said he was convinced that the proposed solution will help Northern Ireland meet policy goals while reducing the cost of energy for customers.
AES already operates battery storage facilities that work by “smoothing” the intermittent output from wind and other renewable energy sources. The batteries store power when it is abundant and then feed it into the grid at periods of high demand.
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