We were invited to the launch of the Spire 2 Project at the Ulster University in Belfast in October. The project aims to develop Mass Energy Storage (MES) technologies for the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The SPIRE 2 project will involve collaboration between lead coordinator Ulster University, 3 research institutes and 14 businesses via a cross-border Virtual Research Graduate School, and follows on from the original SPIRE project which looked at energy storage including compressed air.
SPIRE 2 will address how consumer-owned energy storage can resolve the problem of the variability of renewable energy (RE) output.
The project will explore how homes and businesses can store renewable energy effectively, allowing very high levels of RE to be integrated into power grids globally, at the same time as maximising the benefits to consumers.
With funding of around £6M the research into our future electricity needs will be studying things like..
- The Electrification of Heating
- Solar PV
- Energy Storage
- Electric Vehicles & V2G
Northern Ireland’s Renewables
There were some interesting facts and figures at the launch.
- There are currently 21,000 micro generators in Northern Ireland (that’s ones below 50kw). Of these around 17,000 are Solar PV installations.
- UK dependence on fossil fuel imports are currently 36% with Ireland being 85%!
- The Utility Regulator for NI (UREGNI) also predicts we may exceed the 40% renewable target set for 2020.
- Worldwide Wind and Solar are predicted to provide 64% of demand over next 25 years. circa 8.6TW – Bloomberg New Energy Outlook
- UK investment of £265m in smart systems as part of UK Clean Energy Strategy
We will follow this important research with interest.