VRB Power Systems entered into a sale agreement with Tapbury Management Limited of Donegal, Ireland for the sale of a 1.5 MW x 8 hour (12 MWH) VRB-Energy Storage System (ESS). Tapbury oversees the management of Sorne Hill Windfarm, a recently commissioned 32MW windfarm located in Ireland.
This 12MWH VRB-ESS will be coupled to phase II of the Sorne project which is an additional 6.9 MW of wind power for which turbines have been ordered and are due to be installed in the Fall of 2007. This will make Sorne, at 38 MW, one of the largest wind farms in Ireland. The total contract value for VRB Power from this sale is approximately US$6.3 million.
Subject to the performance results from this initial 12MWH VRB-ESS, Tapbury has the option to expand the power and storage elements of the system to cover the existing 32MWs of wind power at Sorne which would equate to approximately 50 MWH's of additional VRB energy storage. "With approximately 3,000MW of wind energy in the application process in Ireland, we believe that there could be a need for in excess of 700MW of storage in Ireland to enable the successful roll out of this abundant resource," stated John Ward, Director and shareholder in Tapbury and Sorne Wind Energy Limited ("Sorne"). With the VRB system, we can significantly expand and develop the substantial wind energy resources. In terms of our own portfolio of wind projects, we would have some 70-80 MW of wind projects which would be immediately enabled by this technology. We are currently in discussions with Bord Gais Energy Supply, in relation to the offtake of the VRB-ESS conditioned wind power from phase II at Sorne."
"This purchase is a significant milestone in the development of a real and credible alternative to fossil generation in Ireland, and Europe. This is the culmination of around 2 years work, and we see it as only the beginning of an expansion in the size and number of wind generation installations in Ireland. What we know we can achieve, is the firming up of an intermittent source of energy. Ireland has one of the best wind regimes in the world, but because wind is intermittent, this was always going to be a resource which could not be fully exploited," concluded Ward
The VRB technology is the most advanced wind coupled storage system in the world with a very large system installed in Japan and a smaller one installed in Australia. The repeated deep cycling in wind applications makes it virtually impossible for conventional batteries or even advanced batteries to compete with the VRB - ESS" "The negotiation of this sale has been ground-breaking from the point of view that this will be one of the largest flow batteries to be coupled to a wind farm and it will be the first large scale system of this type to be installed in Europe."
"The presence of the 12MWh VRB Energy Storage System will enable Sorne, Phase II to provide more electricity to the grid on a much smoother basis improving the reliability and predictability of electricity generation and alleviating issues of intermittency. This, together with the ability to store excess wind energy which would otherwise be lost, has positioned Sorne to negotiate better than usual commercial terms for the off take agreement relating to the electricity that will be generated from Phase II as well as qualifying Phase II for higher capacity and ancillary payments. These value streams provide a strong value proposition for wind farm operators in Ireland and other countries and territories around the world and this sale will provide a blue-print for other such sales."
In view of the significant potential market for storage in Ireland, its ideal location and the attractive capital and other incentives which would be available to us, we are investigating the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in Ireland along with a support centre for our European efforts," concluded Hennessy.
The cost of electricity generation in Ireland has risen to amongst the highest in the world and this has led to a large focus on reducing dependence on natural gas imports, becoming more self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation and in maximizing its own natural resources. Ireland is also committed to the Kyoto Protocol and to reducing Greenhouse gases. At the end of 2005 renewables, largely wind, contributed 6.8% to electricity supply and the Irish Government has set the target of 15% renewable energy generated electricity by 2010
By mid 2006, the amount of installed and contracted renewable generation (mainly wind) in Ireland totaled 1,560 MW. There is a further 2,992 MW of renewable generation (again mainly wind) in the connection application process which would be a total of 4,552 MW of renewable generation on the system. This presents the clear prospect of Ireland having the largest share of renewable generation to total generation of any grid system in the world.
As the amount of wind penetration continues to increase rapidly, issues of intermittency and curtailment are becoming more and more common and storage is becoming a necessary component to ensure that this abundant resource can be maximized without causing wide-spread frequency deviation and disruption to the Irish grid. In addition, storage has the potential to improve the capacity of electricity being generated from wind farms and to ensure that all wind energy is captured whether generated at peak or off peak times.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, VRB Power Systems Inc. is an energy storage technology developer which is marketing, selling and manufacturing products utilizing the patented VRB Energy Storage System ("VRB-ESS"). The VRB-ESS can economically store and supply large amounts of electricity on demand and is focused on stationary applications. It is a long life, cost effective, low maintenance, efficient technology that allows for the scalability of power and storage capacity independently. The VRB-ESS is particularly beneficial to renewable energy providers, utilities and end users through its ability to "inventory" electricity, allowing for the optimal match of supply and demand. The VRB-ESS is well suited for a variety of applications. Enabling the provision of "firm" capacity from intermittent renewable generation such as wind and solar; more cost effective and efficient generation of electricity in remote areas; capital deferral for utilities; and load leveling (peak shaving) applications. The VRB-ESS is also capable of providing backup power solutions including applications for utility substations and telecommunication sites. The VRB-ESS is characterized by having the lowest ecological impact of all energy storage technologies and is unlike most other conventional energy storage systems that rely on substances such as lead or cadmium.
For more information visit VRB's web site at: www.vrbpower.com.