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Electrical and electronic engineering, Energy and fuels
Hydroelectric power generation has been in use for a very long time. From the earliest watermills to the current large scale Hydro power plants, this is a technology that is proven to be reliable and commercially viable. The use of wind energy to provide mechanical power for the purpose of turning a rotor is also not a new concept.Four years ago TCD Professor of Applied Physics Igor Shvets conceived the idea of solving Ireland’s energy crisis by taking these two proven renewable technologies and combining them. (McGreevey, 2012) The spirit of Ireland initiative seeks to resolve the biggest issues facing those involved in wind generated electricity, namely what to do when the wind is not blowing.
There has not been a new Pumped Hydro Electric storage Power Plant built in Ireland since Turlough Hill in 1973 and one of the reasons for this may be the high capital costs associated with this type of project.
The premise of using the sea as the lower reservoir in a low head, high volume system is at the center of The Spirit of Ireland Proposal. This type of system should offer a lower capital cost, but is it low enough and could it provide a viable source of energy for today’s modern grid.
McLean, E.D. (2013). An Evaluation of Seawater Pumped Hydro Storage for Regulating the Export of Wind Energy to the National Grid. Dissertation. Dublin Institute of Technology