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Coburn, Alice; Walsh, Eilín; Solan, Patrick J.; McDonnell, Kevin (2014)
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Renewable energy, EU Birds Directive, Wind energy, EU Habitats Directive, Pumped hydro energy storage, Ireland
Ireland has one of the highest wind energy potentials in Europe. The intermittent nature of wind makes this renewable resource impractical as a sole source of energy. Combining wind energy with pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) can overcome this intermittency, consuming energy during low-demand periods and supplying energy for periods of high demand. Currently Ireland has a number of hydroelectric power plants and wind farms of various scales in operation. A feasibility study was conducted to investigate the potential of securing a reliable source of renewable energy by increasing the penetration of hydroelectric power by means of combined wind-PHES developments. The greatest wind potential is experienced along the western coast of Ireland and a number of sites were identified here which satisfied a minimum mean wind speed criterion of 10.5 ms−1. Each site was then further evaluated according to topographical requirements for PHES. All but two of the identified sites are immediately unsuitable due to the presence of areas protected under European legislation; this highlights the nonenergy related obstacles in the path of renewable energy generation in Ireland and suggests that a compromise should be researched which could facilitate both renewable energy generation and species and habitat protection in Europe.
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