A power station operator has begun to build what it described as the UK's first "advanced, battery-based energy storage facility" in County Antrim.
The facility at Kilroot, Carrickfergus, should be able to store energy produced by wind farms and provide support to the electricity grid. It is being built by the global power company AES, which owns Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations.AES said it hoped the facility will be operational by the end of this year.
The firm's UK and Ireland plant manager, Roger Casement, said: "We are excited to begin construction of AES' first energy storage project in the UK, bringing enhanced reliability, flexibility and efficiency to the grid.
"We're proud to offer Northern Ireland a cost-effective and cutting-edge solution for supporting security of supply and modernising our infrastructure."
The company said the facility will provide "10 MW of interconnected energy storage" and all installation work on the facility will be delivered by firms based in Northern Ireland.
One of the companies involved in the project is Belfast-based Scotts Electrical Services. Its managing director, Gordon Nixon, said: "Energy storage is an innovative technology, which could play an important role in Northern Ireland's energy future and we're proud to be installing the most significant project to date on these islands."
The mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Billy Ashe, also welcomed the development. "The skills currently being developed by people in mid and east Antrim can create a positive economic impact for the area, as the UK and Ireland realise the benefits of energy storage for security of supply and lowering carbon emissions," Mr Ashe said.
When plans were announced last year, AES claimed the facility would lower the cost to consumers, help meet renewable energy targets and improve the flexibility of the local grid.
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