All power systems hold reserves to cover for the possibility of sudden increase in demand or loss of generation. Ireland’s national grid operate, EirGrid, has for the last decade operated a programme called Delivering a Safe Secure System (or DS3 for short). In 2018, this programme introduced new reserve products such as Fast Frequency Response. In response the Net Zero team created a project based on a hybrid of fast starting biofuel engines, ultracapacitors and batteries which deliver Fast Frequency Response in less than 150ms. Delivering the service in this way is much more fuel efficient than requiring conventional fossil fuel plant to hold back capacity to create such reserves.
This project also provides DS3 ancillary services to EirGrid, helping to stabilise the grid. Li-ion batteries are superior to most other forms of reserves because they can react very quickly, in less than half a second, to any unexpected disturbances on the grid. The project comprises 6 containerised packages of Li-Ion batteries, along with modular inverters, transformers and ancillary equipment. It was installed by Fluence, a global leader in packaging and operating utility scale storage projects. The Net Zero team assisted in the permitting and grid connection processes. This project shares its connection with the Tullahennel wind farm, making it one of the first hybrid projects in Ireland.
A power system with wind and batteries can delivery almost everything a fossil fuel system can, except for one crucial piece: inertia. The Net Zero team has developed the Glencloosagh Sync Comp project to deliver more inertia than a traditional fossil power plant, but without needing to burn any gas to deliver this inertia. That frees up the wind and batteries to do what they are good at. The project is fully permitted and, in collaboration with Statkraft, will take part in EirGrid's inertia procurement expected later in 2022.