County Antrim wind power plan would benefit environment

A proposal which could see the improved integration of electricity generated by wind power into the grid system would be environmentally advantageous and boost employment, it has been claimed.

The £200 million scheme put forward by Irish energy company Gaelectric would see wind energy stored as compressed air in underground salt caverns beneath Larne Lough.

This compressed air could then be released to drive wind turbines at times of peak demand.

According to Keith McGrane, head of offshore energy and energy storage at Gaelectric, the building of a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) facility in County Antrim would have both environmental and economic benefits.

“CAES provides a proven method of balancing the intermittency of wind energy ensuring that energy is delivered to consumers when they need it, whilst improving the overall operational efficiency of the system as a whole,” he said.

“Air storage is at the cutting edge of new energy markets and Northern Ireland has the opportunity to lead in this field.”

Wind power currently accounts for around 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage.

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