A picture of UL's Dr Robert Lynch at the launch of the facility
An Taoiseach Michéal Martin, Lumcloon Energy CEO Nigel Reams and Dr Robert Lynch of UL’s Department of Physics at the ground breaking ceremony in Shannonbridge
Thursday, September 15, 2022

Grid stabilisation technology that was initially developed at University of Limerick is to power a new state of the art facility in the Midlands.

When completed, the new ‘Shannonbridge B’ grid stability plant will provide an additional 170MWh of hybrid capacity to the national electricity grid.

The €130m hybrid facility—developed by Lumcloon Energy (Ireland) and Hanwha Energy (Korea)—will combine a long-duration battery with a synchronous condenser flywheel for the first time.

The state-of-the-art facility was launched recently by An Taoiseach, Michéal Martin, TD.

The plant, which will help stabilise the electricity grid, respond to demand from the movement towards renewable energy and support greater energy independence, has its origins in pioneering research undertaken by the Department of Physics at UL.

The aim is to improve efficiency to meet the changing needs of the power system as the level of renewable sources like wind and solar energy comes to the fore.

This effectiveness of the combination of battery technology and a flywheel was first demonstrated during an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership between Nigel Reams, current MD of Lumcloon Energy and UL’s Department of Physics.

Dr Robert Lynch, Course Director of the BSc in Applied Physics in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and advisor to Lumcloon Energy, explained: “We developed and tested a pilot plant that was connected to the grid, which demonstrated the feasibility of using flywheels and batteries to support the electricity grid during ‘events’.

“From our research, we showed several significant advantages and synergies of combining synchronous condenser flywheels with battery storage to provide stabilisation of the electricity grid and following our advice Lumcloon Energy will soon begin the building of such a facility at its Shannonbridge B plant.”

Dr Lynch explained that, although batteries can deliver very rapid frequency response, reserve and ramping services, synchronous condensers provide low carbon inertia that bridges the time required for batteries to react to any sudden loss in electricity supply or surge in demand.

Speaking at the launch of the new facility An Taoiseach Michéal Martin said that the Government is currently committed to addressing both immediate needs and future sustainability of electricity supplies to homes and businesses alike.

“In recent months the very real impacts of climate change, Russia’s immoral war on Ukraine and the collective European response have demonstrated the need to make urgent progress on the move away from fossil fuels. This project exemplifies the type of infrastructure that we need to aid the decarbonisation of our electricity sector and support security of supply at this critical time.”

Also commenting on the launch Nigel Reams, Nigel Reams, MD of Lumcloon Energy, outlined: “We are focused on accelerating the decarbonisation of the Irish energy sector. We develop projects which increase the stability and reliability of the power grid and provide essential back up to support renewables. Shannonbridge B is another major step in the right direction for Ireland’s power grid and will facilitate the increasing amount of renewables on the system.”

The project will create around 150 jobs over the two-year construction phase and support 15 jobs on completion.

Construction of the ‘Shannonbridge B’ facility is due to commence later this year with operation planned for late 2024.