Investigation into the feasibility of a West of Ireland Pumped Storage System
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Ireland’s remote position on the tip of Europe ensures that the country is vulnerable to uncertainty of supply. The reliance on conventional sources of electricity has ensured that escalated prices and high carbon emissions have been witnessed whilst opportunities that inherent resources provide, such as the wind, have not been capitalised upon. The intermittent nature of the wind make it difficult to maximise its potential as in many cases the highest wind speeds are highest when demand is low. The West of Ireland’s combination of wind speeds and unique topography makes it suitable for and innovative wind powered pumped storage system, which can essentially regulate the wind generated electricity and integrate further penetration of renewable energy. In addition, its location along the Atlantic Ocean provides further scope for innovation as seawater can be integrated into the system design. The construction of such an unprecedented project in combination with increased interconnectors has the potential to make Ireland a rechargeable battery for Europe. However, such ambitious plans are at the very early stages and are in direct contrast to current events in the Irish energy market. This study focuses on the feasibility of West of Ireland pumped storage systems. Entailed within this is an extensive desk study, a detailed site selection process and a feasibility study of grid connection. To increase opportunities to identify the best possible site, the feasibility study was focused on the Galway and Mayo areas solely.
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