AES unveils new system for storage of energy
An energy storage system in Co Antrim - billed as the biggest in the UK and Ireland - has been unveiled by AES.
The project at Kilroot power station was described as a major advance in Northern Ireland's energy infrastructure.
AES, the American firm which owns Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations, said that when the system was up and running, it would help save around £8.5m every year.
It is currently providing 10MW of interconnected energy storage, but the company ultimately wants to build a 100MW energy storage facility, through which maximum savings could be realised.
The storage system is connected to the grid and can make use of energy from all sources, including renewable sources such as wind.
On a tour of the facility with visitors from Great Britain, the US, Europe and Ireland, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the system could lower costs, ensure security of supply and help the environment.
"The energy environment is constantly changing and energy storage has the potential to benefit all of us by lowering costs, helping the environment and improving security of supply to our homes and businesses," he said.
"It is also an important factor as we look to de-carbonise our energy supplies."
Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said the system was another tool for helping ensure security of supply, adding: "The ability to meet demand for electricity is one of the highest priorities for government. Energy drives economies and having available a source of power which can respond quickly to meet demand at peak times can make an important contribution to system security."
Carla Tully, AES president for the UK and Ireland, said the facility had attracted considerable interest from around the world as a model for energy storage.