Northern Ireland

Major EU grant for Gaelectric Islandmagee cave project

Image caption The energy project is based around Islandmagee in County Antrim

An energy project near Larne has obtained more multi-million pound funding from the European Union (EU).

The project, being developed by Gaelectric, will store energy in the form of compressed air in underground caverns created within geological salt deposits on the Islandmagee peninsula.

The EU has given the project 90m euro (£77m).

This follows earlier grants of around 15m euro (£12.7m).

This latest grant forms part of the EU's plan to invest 444m euro (£378m) in European energy infrastructure projects.

Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plants use excess power, such as that produced by wind turbines, to compress air and store it under pressure.

Then, when electricity is required, the pressurised air is used to drive a turbine for power production.

The project could provide generation capacity of 330 mw for periods of up eight hours, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 200,000 homes, says Gaelectric.

Gaelectric commercial director Joe O'Carroll said: "This project is the first of a pipeline of projects employing CAES technology which Gaelectric is working on at several locations across Europe.

"We look forward to continuing our work with the authorities in Northern Ireland, with local communities and with the European Commission and the CEF Coordination Committee in bringing the project to fruition."

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