First proposed three years ago, the Spirit of Ireland project aims to turn the country into a net exporter of electricity by using pump storage systems located in coastal regionsRONAN McGREEVY
ONE OF THE biggest renewable energy projects every conceived of in this country is the Spirit of Ireland. First proposed three years ago, it envisages using coastal-based pump storage facilities to turn Ireland into a net exporter of electricity.
The proposal, which was first conceived by TCD Professor of Applied Physics Igor Shvets, seeks to resolve the biggest issues facing those involved in wind generated electricity, namely what to do when the wind is not blowing.
Some 50 potential sites have been located along Ireland’s Atlantic coast. The Spirit of Ireland would use the excess energy generated by several large wind farms to pump seawater up to a reservoir at the top of a cliff.
The water is released when the wind is slack, turning a turbine which generates huge amounts of electricity.
Pump storage is a proven technology that is used in countries such as Italy and Japan to generate electricity. There is a small one at Turlough Hill in Co Wicklow.