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Energy Storage System for Irish Wind Farm Increased Based on Study

VRB Power Systems Inc.'s Energy Storage System (VRB-ESS) being sold to Tapbury Management Limited for Phase II of the Sorne Hill Wind Farm in County Donegal, Ireland, has been increased in size from a 1.5MW x 8hr system to a 2MW x 6hr system.

The re-sizing of this system follows completion of an independent feasibility study on the implementation of the VRB-ESS at Sorne Hill jointly commissioned by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and Tapbury. The study also shows the potential for storage across Ireland with respect to the planned rollout of wind power and Ireland's Kyoto commitments. "Wind energy is one of Ireland's largest accessible renewable energy resources," said David Taylor CEO of SEI. "In the recent Energy White Paper, the Irish Government set a target to deliver 33% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, a significant proportion of which will be provided by wind. Integrating large amounts of wind power presents many challenges with regard to grid-upgrade costs, power quality and of course intermittency management." This study validates a number of the key revenue streams that will be generated by the VRB-ESS. It concludes that the optimum size of the system is 2 megawatts (MW) of power with 6 hours of storage and the ability to provide 3 MW of pulse power for 10-minute periods every hour in order to handle short-term volatility in wind generation. "This study demonstrates the economic viability of our systems for wind farms such as Sorne Hill," stated Tim Hennessy, CEO of VRB Power Systems. "This is largely due to our ability to enable wind powered generation to match many of the characteristics of conventional 'base load and peaking plant', thereby allowing wind power to be dispatched in a similar way to conventional generation." Sorne Wind Energy Limited is a private company formed to develop a 32 MW wind farm at Sorne Hill, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland. The budgeted development cost for this wind farm was Euro 40 million. Construction has been completed and all 16 turbines have been generating electricity since July 2006. "The report also highlights the need for storage in Ireland to enable the successful rollout of wind generation from the current installed base of approximately 800 MW up to and beyond the 3,000 MW currently contracted or proposed, and to deal with the intermittency and constraint issues already being experienced. It is estimated that at least 700 MW of storage may be required across Ireland. This sale will provide us with a "blue-print" to execute on similar opportunities in Ireland and worldwide," concluded Hennessy.

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