VRB Power’s sale last month of a flow battery system to Irish wind developer Tapbury Management Ltd. was a major coup for the company. The $6.3 million “Redox” system will provide 12 megawatt-hours of electricity storage for Tapbury’s wind farm, allowing it to “firm up” energy produced from the farm. Now, Tapbury and Sustainable Energy Ireland (a government authority in charge of sustainable energy development in Ireland) are jointly funding a study to “ascertain and quantify the full potential economic benefits of coupling Vanadium Redox Batteries with wind farms in Ireland.”
The study is expected to be completed by end of October, 2006 and will be used to determine the economic potential for battery storage operating in the forthcoming Single Electricity Market in Ireland. With over 3,000MW of wind energy in the application process in Ireland, there are estimates that there could be a need for in excess of 700MW of storage in Ireland to enable the successful roll out of its most abundant natural resource.
Positive results from this study could add further momentum to VRB’s business prospects in Ireland and throughout Europe. I’m surprise there’s not an Irish company called Shamrock Wind Power, given that the clover is green, has three leaves (a turbine has three blades) and it’s a symbol of the Irish. (I’ll be curious to see how long it takes from the time of this posting before someone reserves the Web domain “shamrockwind.com” — which is available, btw).
In other wind news, the International Herald Tribune republished this NYT article about homegrown Indian wind-turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy, which dominates the wind market in India and is now the fifth-largest producer of wind turbines, recently surpassing Germany’s Siemens. The article does a good job of outlining opportunities in India and China for wind development. Interesting enough, I received several e-mails from investors in India after I wrote up my feature on VRB’s deal with Tapbury. They were all keen to speak with VRB about doing tests in India, so that could represent a huge opportunity for VRB down the line.