A project to store energy as compressed air has won European funding.
The European Union agreed to provide €6.5M (£4.6M) for the initiative being carried out by renewable power firm Gaelectric near Larne in Northern Ireland.
The project involves creating engineered caverns withing undeground salt deposits to contain compressed air.
This energy will be released at periods of high demand, generating up to 330MW for periods of up to six hours.
The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility Co-ordinating Committee said the project would “contribute to market integration, renewable energy input and system security in both Ireland and the UK”.
It added: “The project is technologically innovative and has the potential to be replicated in other parts of the EU with suitable geological conditions.”
Gaelectric chief executive Brendan McGrath said: “The opinion and recommendation from the CEF Co-ordinating Committee is a further endorsement of the Larne project.
“It follows its designation as a Project of Common Interest in 2013 and the growing recognition among policy makers and energy stakeholders of the vital role that large scale energy storage must play in integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy within modern power systems.”