Construction begins on multi-million euro battery storage plant in Lumcloon

Construction begins on multi-million euro battery storage plant in Lumcloon

Tom Kelly, Senior Executive at Enterprise Ireland, South Korean Ambassador, Woon-Ki Lyeo, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, TD, Nigel Reams, CEO of Lumcloo

Karen O'Grady

Reporter:

Karen O'Grady

Email:

news@midlandtribune.ie

Lumcloon Energy has joined forced with South Korea's Hanwha Energy to build one of largest battery storage power plants in Europe, storing enough electricity to power 100,000 homes as part of a €150 million electricity project, based in Lumcloon and Shannonbridge.

The two companies began work on the new battery facilities last week and both will house batteries similar to those found in electric cars and will be utilised to store power that can be used at times of peak demand. The plants will have a combined capacity of 100 megawatts of electricity, making the Lumcloon-Hanwha project one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

The sod-turning for the multi-million euro project was preformed by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, TD at the Lumcloon facility on Wednesday, September 4 where he was joined by the Korean Ambassador to Ireland, Woon-Ki Lyeo and representatives from statutory bodies and agencies.

Battery storage is generally used to “balance” supply from electricity, often generated from green sources such as wind farms, with demand for power from homes and businesses and is a back-up source of power. It'll be capable of being called upon almost instantly to provide the system necessary to bolster a renewable based electricity grid. The two facilities will be unobtrusive, almost silent in operation and not a power plant in the conventional sense.

Electricity generated by wind farms during periods of low demand can be stored and used later when customers need power. The technology is common in Europe, particularly in countries that depend heavily on renewable electricity. Reports say that up to 120 people will be employed in building the Offaly facilities.

Welcoming everyone to the event, MC Peter Duffy, said they were delighted to have both Minister Bruton and the Ambassador at this “significant milestone in the life of this project”.

Ambassador Woon-Ki Lyeo began by saying it was a “great pleasure to witness the start of this Korean Irish joint venture. “I believe this project will have a great impact upon Ireland's energy industry and also on the local economy as well,” he outlined. Speaking about the global energy market entering a new age of sustainability to combat global warming, he said “environmental sustainability is now paramount”.

Later, the Ambassador hoped “the two countries will continue to co-operate in many areas of renewable energy into the future”.

Communications Minister, Richard Bruton, TD was next to take to the podium, saying this was a “truly fantastic occasion”. “I believe the way we can tackle the environmental crisis is for international communities to work together and to achieve things together......This is what makes this partnership between Lumcloon and Hanwha Energy so exciting. It's bringing Irish capability and international capability together to solve common problems.”

Later, the Minister said it's about a “different Ireland”. “A new Ireland and one that's cleaner, better adapted to its environment, more sustainability with its enterprises that can look to the future with confidence and be able to compete in a changing world. This is a journey we are on and one that's really important for ourselves. It's about making sure the generations that come behind us, have the technologies and enterprises that are sustainable and have made the necessary changes.”

Concluding, the Minister said this joint venture was an important “piece in the jigsaw in our ambition to become a more sustainable economy and work with other countries to ensure we have for the next generation the same sort of opportunities that we have been lucky enough to enjoy”.

CEO of Hanwha Energy, Duhyoung Ryoo was visibly delighted to be at the event having worked closely with all involved on this exciting project for some time. Thanking all involved for their continued support, Mr Ryoo enthused this continued help and support helped to make this “pioneering project a reality”.

“This project involved investment of €150 million that will provide us with a new jobs in the local community. The new facilities will be state of the art technology and will help Ireland to become a pioneer in renewable energy. I would like to say that today marks only the beginning of our endeavours in Ireland. Hanwha is your trusted partner to enhance the sustainability and reliability of power systems for the country. We are looking forward to working continuously to support Ireland to move towards the 2030 renewable energy targets.”

Mark Foley, CEO of Eirgrid, enthused the day was a “prime, fantastic example of the marriage of Irish enterprise and world leading Korean technology that, when you put the two together, will provide vital system stability to Eirgrid, who have the challenge of accommodating and connecting all of this renewable energy but also maintaining the standard of service that everyone in this country expects, which is that the lights don't go out”.

“We can't let this happen and the way we will not let this happen is through projects like this – sophisticated technological projects like this...... It's a pleasure to be here and to watch the new eco-system that's going to take us from 33 per cent to 70 per cent renewable sources on the power grid and allow us to deal with this climate crisis.”

Tom Kelly, Senior Executive with Enterprise Ireland, outlined how Enterprise Ireland rely on “people of enterprise and capability [like Lumcloon Energy] and the commitment they make to firstly building the capacity of those companies”.

Later, he spoke about the “third and more distinguishing feature of Lumcloon Energy is the connectiveness of it”. “It’s ability to connect, to work happily with the market, the suppliers, the people who have the technology, the centre of expertise, all of these are characteristics that we see in this particular company. It’s a company well worth doing business with and working in partnership with.”

“I want to commend Lumcloon Energy on taking on the challenge …....The future in the hands of people like Nigel Reams will see other opportunities relating to energy being found and translated into building a resilient industrial economy in the midlands and beyond.”

Deputy Barry Cowen was then welcomed to speak, congratulating all involved. “Today is the culmination of many years work and effort on the part of both companies, particularly on the part of Lumcloon, who recognised the potential contained within the policy that Mark referred to back in 2007.

“Thankfully, the intelligence, the expertise, and the capital and cutting edge technology associated with Hanwha, to marry those together is indeed to recognise the success of this policy that was initiated in 2007.”

Touching on the current situation with regard to Bord na Mona's future, Deputy Cowen stated: “We will ensure we lead the charge ensuring the history associated with the provision of energy in this region is not lost”.

“I look forward to continuing to work with others to ensure this economy and this region will continue to play a pivotal role in providing jobs and opportunities for those who reside here, openness in relation to investment and outside expertise, to work with us in order to realise the ambition contained within our policies.”

Wrapping up the event, Nigel Reams, CEO of Lumcloon Energy, explained how it was a long and exciting journey to “reach today's milestone”. Thanking all of the bodies and agencies involved, Mr Reams enthused how this project was a “significant project”, which would assist with the accommodation of large scale wind and solar supplies on the power system. “It will help Ireland to transition to a low carbon economy, based on indigenous energy sources. It will contribute to a huge reduction in Ireland's green house emissions in the years ahead,” he remarked before adding that they were looking forward to “working with our partners and our energy bodies. We are at the forefront of these technologies and we are up for the challenge.”

A presentation was then made to the CEO of Hanwha Energy from Ferbane/Belmont GAA, Shannonbridge GAA and the Cloghan playground committee before a fabulous exhibition of Irish dancing was put on by local dance students.

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