Business Leadership report that a team of Irish engineers, academics, architects, geologists, hydro-geologists, environmental engineers, construction experts, consultants, and legal and finance professionals working on ideas proposed by Professor Igor Shvets of Trinity College have put together a plan for Irish energy independence. Ireland currently imports energy for 90% of her needs. The group hope to make Ireland energy independent within 5 years, after which they intend to export Irish energy to the rest of Europe. They plan to do this by harnessing Ireland’s natural wind power to drive large volumes of water uphill (wind power is notoriously volatile). The water can then be released at a steady rate to facilitate a constant rate of energy release. The project, while expensive, represents a 10bn stimulus for the national economy.
The Spirit of Ireland group
Eddie Hobbs on Spirit of IrelandOnce Ireland is self-reliant in energy terms after five years, the group then plans to create a massive export market for surplus Irish wind energy, which, it said, will result in energy exports from Ireland of up to 50bn over the following 10 years.
To do all this, the challenges presented in harvesting wind energy its volatile nature as a fuel source, the costs involved capturing and delivering it a power network, the lack of storage capabilities to hold it must be met through the creation of hydro storage reservoirs, the group said.
Such reservoirs operate on the principle of storing excess wind energy and providing more generation capacity when required. The Turlough Hill facility in the Wicklow Mountains offers a working example of this principle.