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Market readies for Ireland & NI storage tender
The transmission service operators (TSOs) for Ireland and Northern Ireland have launched the consultation for a 300MW programme of six-year grid balancing contracts, with an initial 100MW tender set to kick off in September.
Irish TSO EirGrid and Northern Irish counterpart SONI – which together published the DS3 Volume Capped procurement consultation on March 29 – are requesting feedback on how the competition will work by a May 11 deadline.
Eirgrid first established its ‘Delivering a Secure Sustainable Electricity System (DS3)’ programme in 2011, to meet the challenges of operating the electricity system in a safe, secure and efficient manner while facilitating higher levels of renewable energy.
The DS3 Volume Capped tender process will see bidders vie for six-year contracts to provide fast frequency response services to operators for when generators go off-line and frequency levels drop.
Project evaluation will be based on several criteria, including technical capability, size, connection arrangements, and the price per MW for the bundled service being procured.
Bidding for the 100MW first phase of the 300MW procurement programme is currently envisaged to start in September, with contract award anticipated in June 2019.
A second 100MW tender is earmarked for 2019.
Eirgrid is currently advocating a 30MW single project size limit, with 10MW and 100MW caps two other options.
AES and Centrica are both known to be developing storage projects of up to 100MW in size, with a 30MW cap likely to see such schemes downsized in order to bid.
Connection status is another consideration.
“EirGrid has indicated their preference for live/accepted offers; however, this is subject to the outcome of the consultation, so is not firm at this stage,” said Nithin Rajavelu, a partner at technical advisory firm Everoze.
This could play into the hands of the onshore wind market, which is currently in a lull due to the phase out of the REFIT incentive system, and which has not yet received confirmation of how a new competition-based system will work or when exactly it will be implemented.
“We’re seeing a number of wind developers and utilities looking into the energy storage market – some are looking to combine storage facilities alongside already operational wind farms, while others want to build standalone storage assets making use of new and existing grid connections,” Rajavelu added.