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Dresser-Rand has entered into a strategic alliance with renewable energy group Gaelectric, to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) projects in Europe. Under the Strategic Alliance agreement, Gaelectric and Dresser-Rand will collaborate on the design, development, engineering, procurement, and commissioning of CAES projects throughout Europe.
Initially Gaelectric and Dresser-Rand will work together on the most advanced European CAES project which is being developed by Gaelectric near Larne, Northern Ireland. When completed the Larne CAES project will comprise a 268 MW twin power train storage and electricity generation facility. The project envisages a total investment of up to £300 million with a target commissioning date of 2017. Dresser-Rand's initial scope of supply will include project management, scheduling and technical support services thru the planning phase of the Larne project including front end engineering and design in 2014. Full project release is expected at the end of 2014. The project will have significant local economic impacts, including job creation peaking at approximately 300 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase and on-going employment of up to 50 in operations. It is expected 25% of total project costs will be spent in Northern Ireland.
Gaelectric Energy Storage is the energy storage business of Gaelectric which is a renewable energy development and operations business with operations in the UK, Republic of Ireland and the United States. Gaelectric is a significant developer and operator of wind energy projects in Northern Ireland. It also has substantial wind energy assets in the United States centered in the State of Montana.
Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) refers to the storage of energy in the form of compressed air in caverns created within geological salt layers located typically at depths of between 450m and 850m beneath the Earth's surface. Energy is stored by compressing air during periods of low energy demand utilizing compressor technology located at ground level. This stored energy is then available for use in subsequent periods of higher energy demand when it can be released and applied in generating power using significantly lower amounts of natural gas to generate peak time electricity. He added: "The direct economic impacts from the project itself and the technical innovation skills and know-how it will create within Northern Ireland, will be invaluable in rolling out other CAES projects across the UK and to the European mainland."
Keith McGrane, Head of Gaelectric's Energy Storage Division added: "The Larne CAES Project will see the development of a flexible bulk energy storage plant that will allow for better and more cost effective management of electricity generation in Northern Ireland. It will enhance energy security whilst facilitating the target of achieving 40% of electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2020. This strategic alliance with Dresser-Rand will enhance our capabilities in delivering the Larne CAES Project and, at the same time, allow us to lever our understanding of how CAES can contribute to the efficient operation of energy markets and our development expertise across a number of other European markets."