Table of Contents
Journal of Wind Energy
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 415898, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/415898
Research Article

Combining Wind and Pumped Hydro Energy Storage for Renewable Energy Generation in Ireland

1School of Biosystems Engineering, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
2School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Received 17 June 2014; Accepted 5 August 2014; Published 21 August 2014

Academic Editor: Michele Messina

Copyright © 2014 Alice Coburn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.