Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners (FEIP) has announced its investment in a forthcoming pumped storage hydro project located in the Republic of Ireland. Positioned on a 148-hectare site in Tipperary on the Northern ridge of the Silvermines Mountain range, this innovative project is set to utilize an existing void for the creation of a lower reservoir while establishing a second, upper reservoir just below the hilltop's crest.
Upon completion, the plant will possess an impressive storage capacity of 1.8GWh, capable of delivering power at a rate of 300MW over a span of six hours. FEIP's investment supplements the grant funding received by the Silvermines Hydro project from the European Commission via the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) earlier this year.
The European Climate Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (CINEA) granted Silvermines Hydro €4.3 million, and the combined support from this funding and FEIP's investment will accelerate the project's development. Notably, this hydro project will offer the flexibility to vary loads and swiftly switch between import and export modes with high round trip efficiency, making it an invaluable asset for grid support services and traditional load shifting.
Moreover, the project is poised to play a pivotal role in grid stability, contribute to reducing Ireland's dependence on fossil fuels, and facilitate the integration of variable renewable generation into the grid. With the added benefit of creating employment opportunities in the region and delivering significant environmental advantages, the project enjoys robust support both locally and nationally.
The project's significance has been underscored in Ireland's “Review of the Security of Energy Supply of Ireland's Electricity and Natural Gas Systems,” which identifies it as a mitigating solution to Ireland's energy challenges. This development closely follows FEIP's inaugural pumped storage hydro (PSH) investment in the Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro project in Scotland last year.
Richard Thompson, Co-manager of Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners and Partner, expressed the project's broader impact, stating, “This is critical strategic infrastructure asset for Ireland that will help enable decarbonization of the power system, bring employment opportunities to the local area, and complete the restoration of a disused mining site that will create a long-lasting legacy for the local community. We look forward to our partnership with Siga Hydro and bringing this exciting project to fruition.”