Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)

Department

Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Norma Hurley

Abstract

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan for Ireland has detailed that 40% of Irelands total energy consumption from the electricity sector must come from renewable sources by 2020. In 2012 this figure was at 11.4%, it is unlikely these targets will be met by 2020. The important role that hydro power can play in achieving these targets was examined. Research into hydropower in general was carried out in order to attain an understanding of the principles and terminology used. Many traditional hydro schemes have been previously developed in Ireland. However due to increased population, there are no longer suitable locations where large scale Hooding for reservoir creation will not have significant negative environmental impacts. As pumped schemes using seawater require a much smaller reservoir footprint they were selected as having the most potential. Ireland has significant wind energy resources, combining this with pumped hydro scheme allows for the excess wind energy to be stored rather than wasted. As the objective of this research is to investigate whether such plants are a viable option for Ireland when considering the possible environmental impacts, an environmental study was undertaken.

A weighted points system was developed, allowing for possible sites to be assessed, the weighting of each criteria reflects its importance to the schemes success. From this analysis a site at Glanlough Co. Kerry was deemed to have the highest potential. Environmental analysis undertaken at the site revealed its isolated location resulted in minimal impacts on the local population. In fact during construction it would be expected to benefit the local economy. The most significant environmental effects would stem from the impacts on the regions flora and fauna, specifically the protected species located within the two protected areas upon which the site would impede. Various mitigation measures were proposed to combat these effects, the completed report was sent to the National Parks and Wildlife Service to be reviewed. The feedback received indicated the proposed mitigation measures would be adequate, however on site surveys would be required to verify the qualitative analysis presented in this project.

Access Level

info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

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