Strategic Power Projects ‘frustrated but not surprised' by announcement that electricity blackouts are becoming more likely.


Strategic Power Projects has said that SONI’s assertion that electricity black outs are becoming more likely is ‘frustrating but not surprising’. Speaking as SONI published its annual capacity statement, Paul Carson from Strategic Power Projects said:

“Today’s assertion by SONI in its annual Generation Capacity Statement that electricity blackouts may become much more commonplace is frustrating but not surprising.

It serves to emphasise that significant changes must be made to enable quicker and more cost-effective solutions for battery storage and renewable energy connection. It has been clear for some time that things have to change on the ground before they can change across the grid.”

He added,

“Northern Ireland, while making some notable and laudable progress hasn’t resolved the biggest impediment to addressing the challenges of achieving the renewable ambition, ie the fact that the planning system is just too slow and is massively impeding progress.

Unless this, and many other issues are addressed, then electricity blackouts will become an unwelcome, and unnecessary part of everyday life.”

Meanwhile, Strategic Power Projects welcomed this week’s decision in the Irish Republic by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to the largest battery storage facility on the island of Ireland,

“We are delighted and encouraged by the positive outcome to the planning process which will offer the people of Ireland much needed renewable energy storage as the country works hard to reach the 80% renewable energy target by the end of the decade. This is a national significant development.  Security of supply and electricity blackouts have sadly become predictable headlines in Irish news titles, north and south. Battery-based energy storage is part of the solution.  It can be quickly developed, is very cost effective and is the backbone of modern, resilient, and decarbonised energy systems.” 

He added, 

This decision is a clear indication that the Republic’s Climate Action Plan is now having a direct impact on planning policy, and practical decision making. Ireland has made enormous strides over recent years in the development of wind and solar energy, but there needs to be similar action taken to ensure that we have enough energy storage capacity to make efficient use of the renewable energy we produce, and to balance the grid as it takes on more and more renewable energy. The Dunnstown facility won’t solve Ireland’s storage problems on its own, but if the positive decision is a sign of things to come, then that is very positive news for the people of Ireland.”

Gresham House is the single largest battery operator in the UK.  Last year they announced their partnership with Strategic Power Projects to develop a solar and storage pipeline with a combined capacity of over 1GW. Building work will begin as soon as connection to the grid has been achieved. 

Welcoming the announcement, Bobby Smith of Energy Storage Ireland said…

“Energy storage helps ensure a safe, secure, supply of electricity for homes, businesses and farms across Ireland and Northern Ireland. We cannot fully decarbonise our energy supply until we stop using fossil-fuels to back-up our electricity system and rely instead on projects like Dunnstown.  

“The invasion of Ukraine and our dependency on imported fossil-fuels means electricity consumers have seen dizzying increases in their bills and the worst may yet be to come. Energy storage allows us to fully harness our renewable energy resources and replace expensive, polluting, fossil fuels.”

Paul Carson, Managing Director, Strategic Power Projects.