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Air energy scheme lands £77m in EU funding

By John Mulgrew

A major energy scheme in Co Antrim has secured €90m (£77m) in EU funding.

The project, which is being developed by Gaelectric, is an energy storage project based close to Larne.

It stores energy as compressed air in underground caverns, created within salt deposits on the Islandmagee peninsula.

The project will be capable of generating 330MW of power for periods of six to eight hours and creating 250MW of demand on the system.

The project has been awarded two previous grants from the EU in 2015 and 2016, totalling €15m (£12.8m).

Gaelectric commercial director Joe O'Carroll said: "The Gaelectric team has worked tirelessly over the past number of years pursuing its vision of a renewable energy enabled economy and its firm belief is that grid-scale energy storage is a key requirement to the attainment of this goal.

"While clearly delighted with this latest award from the EU, we view this as an important endorsement of the contribution that the project will make towards improving the efficiency and sustainability of electricity transmission systems in Britain and Ireland."

"We look forward to continuing our work with the authorities in Northern Ireland, with local communities and with the European Commission and the CEF Coordination Committee in bringing the project to fruition."

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