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Irish gas storage project gets green light
A gas storage project located off the coast of Northern Ireland has been awarded a marine construction licence, giving it the green light to proceed towards construction.
Islandmagee Energy’s gas storage project will initially unlock seven gas storage caverns. Once constructed and fully operational, these gas caverns will hold around 500mn m3 of natural gas and provide security of supply during peak demand for up to 14 days for Northern Ireland.
The UK has one of Europe’s lowest gas storage capacities at just 1% of its annual demand in storage, leaving it much less resilient to supply issues than other European countries which hold as much as 20–30% of annual demand in storage. Once fully developed, the Islandmagee gas storage project will hold over 25% of the UK’s storage capacity.
John Wood, Group CEO, Harland & Wolff, Islandmagee Energy’s parent company, comments: ‘This is good news for consumers and businesses in the UK who are currently experiencing distressing hikes in energy prices and fears of potential blackouts as gas and power grids face peak demand stresses during the winter months. With the current energy supply crisis, everyone now understands just how important gas storage is to secure supply and protect against extreme volatility in gas and power prices in the UK.’
Islandmagee Energy also has longer term ambitions to store hydrogen. Wood explains: 'Large-scale hydrogen storage will enable the UK to make the most of excess renewable energy as it transitions to net zero. The existing power grid cannot always accept all of the electricity generated from wind farms during periods of surplus wind power generation. It is during these frequently occurring periods that wind farms are temporarily scaled back as there is no way to store the excess electricity produced. Production of large-scale hydrogen and its storage is the long-term solution to this. Excess wind generated power can be used to produce green hydrogen which can then be stored in salt caverns for future use during peak demand periods.’