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Spirit of Ireland - A bright spark in today's economic gloom?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,309 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    One way to increase utilization of the peakers would be to continue electrification of commuter rail. In Quebec, one of the biggest drivers of transport electrification is the local version of ESB (Hydro-Quebec).

    Even if Metro North and Interconnector are delayed IE might be able to electrify Maynooth Line within its own resources. Maybe also build Luas Line F1 (note not F2 Liberties which would be trickier through more dense urban form) as a Line A branch rather than the "big bang projects" of the 2000s.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,441 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    patgill wrote: »
    The scale of what we propose though is designed to participate in the UK market where they have a looming gap in their generation capacity of approx 20GW or roughly a third of their demand.

    The UK regulator, OFGEM, are planning to meet a high percentage of this gap by importing electricity, they are building and paying for a large increase in interconnection with Europe and especially Norway in order to make use of their pumped hydro facilities and the UK government are very interested in importing from Ireland if we build the required storage.

    Yet you say elsewhere:
    There will be very few coal plants in the UK available to purchase power from as almost all are constrained at the moment by EU emissions directives, Drax are even begging for subsidy to convert to Biomass.

    If we find it necessary to source energy in the UK, it would be mainly renewables, but there is plenty of energy available in Ireland which can be purchased.

    So if necessary you'll buy renewable energy from the UK, despite them having a deficit of generation capacity, and then sell it back to them.
    Why don't you just go and build it in the UK then?

    I thought that after nearly two years of publicity that more detail would come out but all we're seeing is ever-conflicting messages.

    First, it was energy independence ... within 5 years too
    Then, the energy independence bit was dropped
    Then the 5 year bit ... sometimes... but not always
    Then SoI said they'd fill the reservoirs using green energy in Ireland
    Then that changed and they said they'd source energy from the UK if neessary
    Then they said they'd export energy to the UK
    ...but don't worry ... they'll import green energy if necessary...
    And export it back to the UK ... assuming the UK will export in the first place because they'll have a shortage of geerating capacity.

    Now can anyone else see a few holes in the plotline here or is it just me?


    P.S. Don't forget that Poyry and Eirgrid have examined pumped storage and said it
    "storage by itself, is insufficient to manage renewable generation because of its power and energy capacity constraints but it can make a contribution towards managing intermittency as part of a porfolio with interconnection and flexible generation."


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭luohaoran


    Heroditas wrote: »
    Yet you say elsewhere:



    So if necessary you'll buy renewable energy from the UK, despite them having a deficit of generation capacity, and then sell it back to them.
    Why don't you just go and build it in the UK then?

    I thought that after nearly two years of publicity that more detail would come out but all we're seeing is ever-conflicting messages.

    First, it was energy independence ... within 5 years too
    Then, the energy independence bit was dropped
    Then the 5 year bit ... sometimes... but not always
    Then SoI said they'd fill the reservoirs using green energy in Ireland
    Then that changed and they said they'd source energy from the UK if neessary
    Then they said they'd export energy to the UK
    ...but don't worry ... they'll import green energy if necessary...
    And export it back to the UK ... assuming the UK will export in the first place because they'll have a shortage of geerating capacity.

    Now can anyone else see a few holes in the plotline here or is it just me?


    P.S. Don't forget that Poyry and Eirgrid have examined pumped storage and said it
    "storage by itself, is insufficient to manage renewable generation because of its power and energy capacity constraints but it can make a contribution towards managing intermittency as part of a porfolio with interconnection and flexible generation."

    Yep, your plotline is full of holes.
    Your list of comments only conflict if you choose to take the most negative possible interpretation. Which you seem set on doing.
    What is your point exactly?

    Energy Independance
    To me energy independence means meeting your overall supply cost with home grown energy. I never for a minute took that to mean we wouldn't be buying and selling through an interconnector.
    To interpret it in the way you have, as meaning that you must only every be using Irish energy, at all times, is just plain silly, and I can see why you would call that madness.

    5 years
    Surely you did not expect them to factor in unforeseeable difficulties and intransigence of the governing bodies. 5 years , obviously pertains to how much time it would take if as had been said, the unnecessary obstacles were taken out of the way. There has been some turbulent politicking going on this last while, certain parameters are just beyond SOI's control.
    So depending on the context, you can either state 5 years, or 5 years plus these extra difficulties, without fear of correction.

    Sourcing from the UK
    SOI don't have that much control over how the UK generates its electricity. But they are right to point out that they do expect some energy supply issues in the medium term. They are also right to point out that with appropriate interconnectors in place that the UK is likely to balance its green output by pumping to and from our reservoirs. Naturally for the bigger lulls the energy gap will have to come from other sources. This is a Europe wide policy. If you can generate green energy or store it, or even better, both, then you really are in business.

    So I really don't see the point, of any of your points.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 ✭✭✭Aidan1


    If you can generate green energy or store it, or even better, both, then you really are in business.

    You can't store 'renewable' energy in pumped storage systems, and retain it's green status. Simply put, electricity generated from pumped storage cannot be classified as 'renewable', no matter how it gets there. Recital 30 of the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive applies.

    So, were SoI to ever get anything built, they can only count the (intermittent) generation from wind as renewable - that coming from pumped storage is not.
    The CER licensing program for new power stations contains a billion euro worth of what is called “peaking plant”.

    Critically, these are 'planned' projects - are there any even in construction yet?


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    Aidan1 wrote: »
    You can't store 'renewable' energy in pumped storage systems, and retain it's green status. Simply put, electricity generated from pumped storage cannot be classified as 'renewable', no matter how it gets there. Recital 30 of the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive applies.

    So, were SoI to ever get anything built, they can only count the (intermittent) generation from wind as renewable - that coming from pumped storage is not.

    The CER licensing program for new power stations contains a billion euro worth of what is called “peaking plant”.

    Critically, these are 'planned' projects - are there any even in construction yet?

    Earlier in the thread you asked for a progress report on S of I, I will attend to this as soon as time permits, there has been much progress and it must be condensed in order to squeeze it into a post, I doubt you want to read a book on the subject, yet!!!

    And yet in a sense you have answered your own question.

    The raison d'etre of S of I from the very beginning has been to mitigate the intermittancy of renewables without resorting to fossil fuels. The result is then a scenario of carbon neutral, price stable electricity.

    The thinking behind recital 30 of the directive is to prevent fossil derived electricity from being counted as renewable's.

    S of I are simply complying with the overall aim of the directive.

    The renewable energy is generated, and counts towards the 2020 target, it is measured at the gate of the reservoir and when required, smoothed for dispatch to the grid, obviating the need for these gas guzzling open cycle peaking plants.

    The era of cheap energy is over, from now on energy must used carefully.

    The S of I project also reduces renewable constraint costs and allows windfarms to continue to generate without affecting the security of the grid, thereby also increasing the national contribution to the 2020 and 2050 targets, whilst increasing investor certainty for building a renewables industry in Ireland.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,441 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    luohaoran wrote: »
    Yep, your plotline is full of holes.
    Your list of comments only conflict if you choose to take the most negative possible interpretation. Which you seem set on doing.
    What is your point exactly?

    Energy Independance
    To me energy independence means meeting your overall supply cost with home grown energy. I never for a minute took that to mean we wouldn't be buying and selling through an interconnector.
    To interpret it in the way you have, as meaning that you must only every be using Irish energy, at all times, is just plain silly, and I can see why you would call that madness.

    5 years
    Surely you did not expect them to factor in unforeseeable difficulties and intransigence of the governing bodies. 5 years , obviously pertains to how much time it would take if as had been said, the unnecessary obstacles were taken out of the way. There has been some turbulent politicking going on this last while, certain parameters are just beyond SOI's control.
    So depending on the context, you can either state 5 years, or 5 years plus these extra difficulties, without fear of correction.

    Sourcing from the UK
    SOI don't have that much control over how the UK generates its electricity. But they are right to point out that they do expect some energy supply issues in the medium term. They are also right to point out that with appropriate interconnectors in place that the UK is likely to balance its green output by pumping to and from our reservoirs. Naturally for the bigger lulls the energy gap will have to come from other sources. This is a Europe wide policy. If you can generate green energy or store it, or even better, both, then you really are in business.

    So I really don't see the point, of any of your points.


    My "point" was to demonstrate how SoI have chopped and changed whenever anyone has pointed out the massive flaws in their plans.
    Two years on and we're still waiting for something even vaguely concrete yet we're still told that it'll be "forthcoming".
    Are you a member of SoI? You're very defensive of it.
    If not, do you not think that specifics should be garnered from them if they choose to communicate to the people of Ireland through websites and forums?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 ✭✭✭Aidan1


    The thinking behind recital 30 of the directive is to prevent fossil derived electricity from being counted as renewable's.

    Possibly (the efficiency losses associated with PS is just as important), but that does not change the fact that hydro from pumped storage is not renewable, and as such cannot be claimed towards national targets. Leaving carbon aside for a moment, you might as well supplement wind with gas, or coal, as is the case right now. Or with electricity directly from the interconnector as will be the case in the near future. In fact, the opportunity cost of using renewable electricity to pump seawater uphill vs actually selling it, directly to market, for a guaranteed price are difficult to understand for a lot of people, hence the questions here. Moreover, 'smoothing' is all very well and good, but from an economic perspective, the question remains as to whether very large scale Pumped Storage is the cheapest and most effective means of supplementing intermittent wind electricity. SoI have yet to publish any information that suggests this is the case.

    There are a number of much smaller pumped storage projects in the pipeline in Ireland - on the face of it, these look like far more scale appropriate that the 'big bang' projects SoI have been on about.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,441 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    Aidan1 wrote: »

    There are a number of much smaller pumped storage projects in the pipeline in Ireland - on the face of it, these look like far more scale appropriate that the 'big bang' projects SoI have been on about.



    Bingo!


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭luohaoran


    Heroditas wrote: »
    My "point" was to demonstrate how SoI have chopped and changed whenever anyone has pointed out the massive flaws in their plans.
    Two years on and we're still waiting for something even vaguely concrete yet we're still told that it'll be "forthcoming".
    Are you a member of SoI? You're very defensive of it.

    SoI have not chopped and changed at all. They have rebutted points made against the project, which in itself shifts focus, but the idea has remained constant.
    As I see it, the arguments being made against SoI are little more than vested interests practicing their debating skills. The bigger picture is clear.
    There is of course some benefit in arguing out some of the finer details, but they remain just that, finer details.
    The underlying numbers are completely sound, the basic concept is mind numbingly obvious. I just hate to see people pumping up minor detail into wrecking balls.
    If that makes me a "member of SoI" then so be it.

    If not, do you not think that specifics should be garnered from them if they choose to communicate to the people of Ireland through websites and forums?

    I agree completely.

    The numbers I saw, as put out by SoI , way back, amounted to a competitive price for their electricity on a unit for unit comparison. (Note , this ignores the most significant argument which is that Irish produced energy is multiples better than imported energy , for the Irish bottom line)

    If you are looking for something concrete, (by concrete I assume the coordinates on a map of the first couple of resevoirs, when will construction start, who's paying for it etc.) you will just have to wait.
    If SoI announces anything prematurely then the whole project on a valley by valley basis could be put in jeopardy. Clearly you have to achieve 100% compliance within any community. Otherwise you'd have a Corrib. I'd imagine the negotiations to achieve this are very complex.

    Yes, I'm fed up waiting too.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    luohaoran wrote: »
    The numbers I saw, as put out by SoI , way back, amounted to a competitive price for their electricity on a unit for unit comparison.

    what numbers? we seen no numbers


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,235 ✭✭✭lucernarian


    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    what numbers? we seen no numbers
    That's a fair point, from what I've seen in this thread all along. There have been generalised pricetags and vague forecasts but nothing beyond this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭luohaoran


    "The Numbers" were never discussed in any detail on this forum.
    Sorry, I had a quick look this morning and I couldn't find the forum where that discussion took place.

    You can easily find plenty of argument about whether or not the number of turbines needed is realistic, or the land mass to put them on is correct, or indeed if the hydro dams are big enough, or small enough. All of which are moot.
    The only real argument is can the project provide a good return on investment, a) for individual investors, institutional investors.
    b) for the irish exchequer/economy as a whole.

    So you just need to take a couple of design sizes, work out the cost of construction of the turbines, networks, dams and come up with varying load conditions, and get some ball park figures for unit costs.
    Nearly every figure is pretty widely variable. So I'd suggest that everyone does their own calculations, and satisfy their own curiosity.

    The fact of the matter is though that wind seems to be viable under current conditions, even without hydro. Hydro only makes it more so.
    And the turbines are being built anyway. Of course it could have been done more cheaply if it was upscaled under the SoI banner.

    Anyone could take the worst case of all the variables and perhaps make return on investment part a) fail. Of course that would not be realistic. But you can't possibly make return on investment part b) fail.
    Even though you guys have as yet failed to accept that point.
    And all the number get better if you just expand out the allowable timescale.

    Pat, perhaps you could once again provide the rough figures for the variables above and let everyone go off and do their math.


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    luohaoran wrote: »
    "The Numbers" were never discussed in any detail on this forum.
    Sorry, I had a quick look this morning and I couldn't find the forum where that discussion took place.

    You can easily find plenty of argument about whether or not the number of turbines needed is realistic, or the land mass to put them on is correct, or indeed if the hydro dams are big enough, or small enough. All of which are moot.
    The only real argument is can the project provide a good return on investment, a) for individual investors, institutional investors.
    b) for the irish exchequer/economy as a whole.

    So you just need to take a couple of design sizes, work out the cost of construction of the turbines, networks, dams and come up with varying load conditions, and get some ball park figures for unit costs.
    Nearly every figure is pretty widely variable. So I'd suggest that everyone does their own calculations, and satisfy their own curiosity.

    The fact of the matter is though that wind seems to be viable under current conditions, even without hydro. Hydro only makes it more so.
    And the turbines are being built anyway. Of course it could have been done more cheaply if it was upscaled under the SoI banner.

    Anyone could take the worst case of all the variables and perhaps make return on investment part a) fail. Of course that would not be realistic. But you can't possibly make return on investment part b) fail.
    Even though you guys have as yet failed to accept that point.
    And all the number get better if you just expand out the allowable timescale.

    Pat, perhaps you could once again provide the rough figures for the variables above and let everyone go off and do their math.

    Despite the claims of some people, S of I have not significantly deviated from our original projections or intentions. We have ackowledged that the phrase energy independence in 5 years should not have used, because the necessary policies and structures were not in place to achieve it, nor was the political will.

    You are correct to state that before a site is chosen, we can only give guide figures for individual components of the plan, however reasonably detailed study of five sites still come out at approx the same cumulative total.

    The reservoir and collection networks would cost an average of €1300 million. The actual reservoir about €800 million.

    On the cost of the wind farms, we can be a lot more precise as we have had detailed talks with the major manufacturers and the best quotation results in an installed price of €1 million per MW, with a significant manufacturing and support base located in Ireland.

    The above paragraph directly relates to to your part b and it is perhaps significant that the following story appears in today's Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/innovation/2011/0225/1224290376016.html

    Although the article tends to lean in the direction of CCGT and calls for a moratorium on renewables, the reasons given could admirably support the S of I outlook.

    Graham O Donnell of S of I will be speaking at next Thursdays renewable energy conference in Croke Park, where many of these issues will be discussed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    It might lend some clarity to the discussion if the difference between importing
    Electricity from Britain and from the uk were made. The sem already has a common RoI/uk import/export of electricity.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65


    Being discussed as part of an energy themed chat on Pat Kennys programme right now


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    What is the most basic requirement of a successful entrepenuer?

    Answer.

    The ability to identify and grasp an opportunity, analyse the playing field, assess the resources available and chart the steps necessary to successfully and profitably implement the solution.


    The time is soon upon us, whereby Enda Kenny will have to explain to Europe and the IMF where we are going to get the money to repay the massive €150 billion loans.

    Many believe the most positive outcome will be that he will get a one or two percent decrease in our interest rates, this will be heralded as a massive achievement but in all honesty is not going to solve our economic problems. Even the most optimistic of economists accept that the truth is that we will have to default on the debt, like Iceland, at some point.
    As opposed to reneging on our debt, we should go to Europe with a positive attitude, displaying a willingness to repay the loans but with a few more demands of our own. You might think it crazy to go making more demands at this stage and that the last thing we would need is more debt? But what if I told you that we could present a plan that would repay the loans (additional ones as well) inside 25 years and then leave us with an economy that makes 24 billion profit per year after that.

    It is important to remember that Europe NEEDS us to repay the loans, therefore should be willing to facilitate this plan.
    The above quotes are from an opinion article written by
    William Costelloe in todays edition of the online newspaper joe.ie.
    This article neatly ties together our economic crisis, the Spirit of Ireland concept, the current programme for government, EU energy policy and the difficulties of the Euro, and presents a scenario in which Ireland inc once again becomes a real economy with an enhanced international reputation.

    Opinion | Is the answer to Ireland's debt crisis blowing


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    patgill wrote: »
    It is important to remember that Europe NEEDS us to repay the loans, therefore should be willing to facilitate this plan.

    Are you sure about that?

    By insisting on handing over our corporation taxation (which has nothing to do with the crisis) the EU are ensuring they never get paid back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭Mucco


    patgill wrote: »
    'But what if I told you that we could present a plan that would repay the loans (additional ones as well) inside 25 years and then leave us with an economy that makes 24 billion profit per year after that.'

    I take it this means you're looking to the state for funding. Is the market unwilling to provide finance?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭mgmt


    patgill As opposed to reneging on our debt, we should go to Europe with a positive attitude, displaying a willingness to repay the loans but with a few more demands of our own. You might think it crazy to go making more demands at this stage and that the last thing we would need is more debt? But what if I told you that we could present a plan that would repay the loans (additional ones as well) inside 25 years and then leave us with an economy that makes 24 billion profit per year after that.

    You're forgetting that the wind turbines need to be replaced after their design life (20-25 years) expires.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 878 ✭✭✭rainbowdash


    Mucco wrote: »
    I take it this means you're looking to the state for funding. Is the market unwilling to provide finance?

    I just saw on the paper how the port tunnel overran by 50% and cost €804M.

    I'd like to see this concept rolled out on a small scale first to see how viable it is.


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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,695 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    mgmt wrote: »
    You're forgetting that the wind turbines need to be replaced after their design life (20-25 years) expires.
    which components need to be replaced ?

    and do you mean replaced or remanufactured ?

    hydroelectric generators do seem to last a little longer ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    mgmt wrote: »
    You're forgetting that the wind turbines need to be replaced after their design life (20-25 years) expires.

    You are quite correct, the design life of a modern utility scale turbine is 25 years, however wave and tidal energy will be commercial in 10 to 15 years and at that stage we can decide the mix.

    The first pumped storage reservoir was completed in 1895 and is still in daily operation.
    I just saw on the paper how the port tunnel overran by 50% and cost €804M.

    I'd like to see this concept rolled out on a small scale first to see how viable it is.

    We have tapped heavily into the expertise of the Irish diaspora, one of these people worked in the dispute resolution office of the largest civil engineering project of the last century, the building of a new airport, 16 miles out to sea, complete with rapid rail, motorway and tunnel access, in Hong Kong.
    http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/engineering/airport/interactive/interactive.html
    This project was brought in on time and on budget.
    And now we know why, how and when.

    which components need to be replaced ?

    and do you mean replaced or remanufactured ?

    hydroelectric generators do seem to last a little longer ?

    I have answered that earlier but you mentioned the word manufactured.

    We believe that this project will attract and anchor Foreign Direct Investment in renewables R&D which is globally worth €25 billion per annum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    Mucco wrote: »
    I take it this means you're looking to the state for funding. Is the market unwilling to provide finance?

    The aspirational article I linked to was written by a journalist rather than a press release from S of I.

    We do require some government input to realise a project of this size but state funding is not on the agenda.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭mgmt


    patgill wrote: »
    You are quite correct, the design life of a modern utility scale turbine is 25 years, however wave and tidal energy will be commercial in 10 to 15 years and at that stage we can decide the mix.

    Wave power is not commercially viable in 10 years. The small fluctuations in wave height mean you need massive structures to gain any worthwhile electrical output. But these structures then have to survive the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Tidal Energy is unfortunately not really a possibility in Ireland. Apart from Strangford Lough there is no suitable locations in Ireland. For instance, if you installed turbines on the tidal barrage on the River Lagan, you would only generate enough electricity to power the lights on the Albert Bridge. The reason being there is not enough of a head difference in the tides in Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 878 ✭✭✭rainbowdash


    patgill wrote: »
    The first pumped storage reservoir was completed in 1895 and is still in daily operation.



    We have tapped heavily into the expertise of the Irish diaspora, one of these people worked in the dispute resolution office of the largest civil engineering project of the last century, the building of a new airport, 16 miles out to sea, complete with rapid rail, motorway and tunnel access, in Hong Kong.
    http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/engineering/airport/interactive/interactive.html
    This project was brought in on time and on budget.
    And now we know why, how and when.




    If the one from 1895 is such a success why has it not taken off as a concept around the world?

    There is talk about exporting the energy, but what if other countries cop onto the idea and undercut us. Ireland is not the only place with mountains and a sea beside them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭patgill


    Happy Easter everyone.

    From all at Spirit of Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,376 ✭✭✭ei.sdraob


    Happy easter, and the thread is almost 2 years old now...


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,441 ✭✭✭Heroditas


    ei.sdraob wrote: »
    Happy easter, and the thread is almost 2 years old now...


    Just as well they ditched the "energy independence within 5 years" tag, isn't it?

    I like this bit that's till on their site:
    To help address some of the wind intermittency issues, it has been proposed that Ireland build interconnectors to import power when our wind stops blowing. This is a patently bad idea for a country which has massive energy resources, which should be exploited for energy export.


    Yet hasn't Pat said they'd import power to fill the reservoirs if necessary?


  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭luohaoran


    oh ye of little faith...

    and on the third day he rose again...
    (the Spirit of Ireland??!)


    I still believe.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 96 ✭✭Hoof Hearted


    Hi Pat,

    You may be able to answer this question.
    Can't we achieve the equivalent concept of pumped storage by only generating power from our hydro-electric schemes when the wind is not blowing and when there is high power generation from wind, operate the hydro electric schemes (e.g. Ardnacrusha, River Lee schemes) in reverse (that is pump water from low to high)?

    Note that, the grid infrastructure connecting these locations is already in place. Now there might be some cost to raising the containment walls of the head race and upstream containment as well as the cost of the 2-way pumps, but it certainly seems it would be a low cost way to further evaluate and justify the concept of pumped storage hopefully on a larger scale than Turlough hill which only has full generation capability for a few hours.

    Of course the feasibility of this would depend on the capacity of water that could be stored upstream, which I don't have the data to calculate.


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