Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dramatic Wind Power Solution to Irish Economic Crises

Copy of Press Release... Leading Ireland’s Bright Future

7th May 2009 – A breakthrough national project is being launched today by the Spirit of Ireland Group. Broken into two phases - Step 1 promises Energy Independence for Ireland within 5 Years with a €10 billion stimulus to the economy. Step 2 will see energy exports from Ireland in years 6, 7 and 8 of €3 billion to €5 billion per year or up to €50 billion over the following 10 years. Both phases will seek to help secure Ireland’s financial future.

A national awareness campaign is running across the national print media today to inform the public and precipitate a national discussion in order to develop social consensus around this exciting opportunity with respect to Ireland’s future.

Over 90% of all the electricity we use is generated from imported, fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. We have no control over the fluctuating costs of imported fuel leaving us strategically naked and resulting in Ireland having the most expensive electricity in Europe. Over the past six months a team of very experienced Engineers, Academics, Architects, Geologists, Hydro Geologists, Environmental Engineers, Construction Experts, Consultants, Legal and Finance professionals have been working intensively on ideas proposed by Professor Igor Shvets of Trinity College. The results of this work have stunning implications for our country.

The Problems with Wind
It is essential to deal with the challenges presented by wind energy:-
Its volatility as a fuel source – it is difficult to predict, intermittent and variable in strength.
Costs involved in harvesting the wind and connection to the power network.
Instabilities created in the power network and dispatching difficulties for network operators.
Lack of energy storage capabilities.

The Solution
Hydro Storage Reservoirs resolve these difficulties by storing excess wind energy and providing more generation capacity when required. The Turlough Hill facility is a well established example of this principle.

Professor Igor Shvets has identified suitable valleys on the West Coast, which are ideally shaped. Basic rock dams in a few valleys, will provide Hydro Storage Reservoirs at modest cost. Positioned close to the sea, water volume is not an issue. Japan’s J-Power had built a successful sea water storage facility in Okinawa over 10 years ago. Senior executives and engineers from Japan visited Ireland and confirmed the validity of this approach. Filling the reservoirs with wind energy and using it when needed means that the intermittency of the wind problem is resolved. International Consultants from Canada, the US and Norway contributed to other aspects of the design.

The basic plan proposes to:
· Locate wind farms in suitable areas to harvest energy
· Save the resulting energy in Hydro Storage Reservoirs
· Natural energy released from Hydro Storage Reservoirs is instantly dispatchable and is ideal for both domestic use and export
· Secure energy supplies and save up to €30 billion in hard cash over 10 years on fossil fuel imports

As well as harnessing excess energy for export, the project will create jobs on a local and national level and lead to huge investment in throughout the country. We will have a massive impact on carbon dioxide emmissions.

Social Consensus for a Secure Future
To build a secure future for Ireland, we will have to construct the Hydro Storage Reservoirs, Wind Farms and Collection Networks and connect these to the grid to supply Natural Energy countrywide. Social consensus in the construction of these facilities is essential. Every effort will be made to ensure this is done in an ecologically sensitive manner by using our most talented experts, architects, environmental and civil engineers. We need to achieve consensus and support from everyone to ensure a secure future for Ireland and a better global environment. Local communities play a key role in the success of this project. The principle will be to improve the economic standing and environment of the areas containing the Hydro Storage Reservoirs.

The Costs
To achieve energy independence and save €15 billion in fossil fuel imports over five years, the country will need to build two Hydro Storage Reservoirs at a cost of €800m each. Wind farms will be connected to these reservoirs via a collection network. The cost of adding a MW to the network is €1.3m. Graham O’Donnell, electrical engineer with 20 years International Power Grid experience and spokesperson with Professor Igor Shvets for ‘Spirit of Ireland’ is asking people to now consider the role that we can all play in improving the state of our nation, ‘We want to get people talking about this initiative and realising that there is much we can do to determine our future. We must decide, as a nation, if we want to take this route to prosperity. We can be the controllers of our country’s financial and environmental destiny. If people want to “have their say”, we want to hear them. The purpose of the national press campaign is to actively encourage the public to register their opinion at’.

Mr O’Donnell continues, ‘By harnessing our wind energy resource, we have the potential to become energy independent and self reliant as a nation. As a result, we will cut our carbon emissions, our energy bill and create jobs and wealth for the future good of the country. Our people, pension funds and Government can invest in and support this initiative. This has potential to be of huge economic benefit to our country’.
The Spirit of Ireland is our people using our talents working together for our country.
Let us begin.

We invite You to register your opinion, please visit

‘The answer, is blowing, in the wind’ – Bob Dylan (copyright 1962)

- Ends-
For further information please contact:
Ann Corcoran / Eavan Breslin / Lynne McCormack
limetree, 20 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2
Office 01-6432303/01 6432304
Ann’s Mobile 087-6175411
Eavan’s Mobile 087-6086960
Lynne’s Mobile 086-2261881 / /

Notes to Editors
Research work to date
The project team brought in expertise from J-Power (Japan), leading international consultants Knight Piesold (Canada) and Devine Tarbell (US). Rainpower (Norway) and Kema (UK) were also consulted. Major equipment suppliers Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Siemens and Toshiba provided detailed equipment specifications and costs. Geographic surveys of potential glacial valleys were undertaken.

Detailed computer models were implemented to assess storage capability of preferred sites and size of required dams. Network designs were considered and cabling options costed by quotation from large scale European suppliers/contractors. Potential power dispatch models were designed.

SIAC construction under the leadership of Managing Director Finn Lyden, evaluated the costs of dams and civil works. SISK confirmed that their costs would be similar. SIAC confirmed the feasibility of tower, penstock and component manufacture in Ireland.

Architects prepared provisional designs of the generator building and visitor’s centres and these were costed by a firm of very experienced quantity surveyors.

Environmental impacts are being assessed with assistance from senior academic colleagues from Trinity College and independent consultants. Consultation is being sought in Brussels.

Energy Independence
To replace €30 billion in imports over 10 years, a peak load of approximately 7000 MW and base load of approximately 3500 MW could be served by an additional 2500 wind turbines and two Hydro Storage Reservoirs. These could be on line in five years. Existing and presently planned Wind farms would also play their part.

Spirit of Ireland
Spirit of Ireland is a volunteer group of Engineers, Academics, Architects, Geologists, Construction, Consultants, Legal, Finance, Students, Writers, professionals and interested people from all walks of Irish life. Your opinions and participation are very welcome. By embracing this initiative, the Spirit of Ireland group believe that Irish people can play a part in deciding their own destiny and the future economic security of the country. The group is a voluntary group and are not involved in this process for any financial gain but rather the knowledge that the future of our country will be financially secure.

Graham O’Donnell - Biography
Graham O’Donnell is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer with over 20 years in control and communications of international power networks. He holds an Honours Diploma in Electrical Engineering from DIT Kevin Street and is an Honours B.Sc.(Eng.) graduate from Trinity College Dublin. He also won a Post Graduate Scholarship to the University of Paris to study Applied Systems.

Graham worked on project management of water, gas and energy projects in Ireland, Europe and Asia before founding his own company in 1988, which specialised in control of power networks and high voltage substations. His company was responsible for design of 400kv Grid Synchronisation equipment for National Grid UK, remote Substation Grid Control for Scottish Power and other large power utilities in the UK. He developed power network control systems in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

In 1988 Graham also co-founded Orbiscom, a company which developed unique technologies for Controlled Credit and Debit Card Payment. The company holds US, European and world-wide patents, which are cross-licensed to Microsoft.
Graham is a widower and proud father of four children.

Professor Igor Shvets – Biography
Igor Shvets (46) was born and grew up in Ukraine. He graduated from MFTI, one of the leading Soviet Universities in 1986 with an MSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, with a Certificate of Excellence. He completed a PhD in 1990 specialising in materials science.

Prof Shvets arrived in Ireland in 1990 and has been based at Trinity College since then teaching science and engineering students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In 2007 he was promoted to a Personal Chair, the highest university academic position. The chair is entitled Professor of Applied Physics. He leads one of Ireland’s most active and productive research groups, enjoying excellent international recognition. Prof Shvets leads the Energy theme within the School of Physics and has also established the Cleaner Energy Laboratory within Trinity College. He also regularly publishes papers in world’s leading Applied Physics journals.

Igor Shvets is probably Ireland’s most prolific inventor at present with over 50 patents and patent applications. From his academic research Igor has initiated two spin out companies, Deerac ( and Cellix Ltd ( Both companies are export-orientated high-tech ventures producing products invented in Ireland, excellent examples of knowledge-based economy in action.

Igor Shvets is an Irish national. He has been married to Irina, a software specialist with IBM, for 22 years and is a dedicated father of three children.


Ireland CAN PROSPER within 5 years!!

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for for your country"

I quote JFK's immortal words because I need the help of the Irish blogging community to spread a vital message and create a debate on a proven natural energy solution which will make Ireland energy independent and an economically strong nation.

In recent months I've personally worked in a very small way on this solution with a purely voluntary team calling itself Spirit of Ireland. The team is composed of Irish people who include skilled engineers, architects, academics, geologists, construction consultants, finance specialists, legal experts and many others.

You may have noticed the full page adverts in today's newspapers and interviews on Pat Kenny's RTE radio program this morning with two of the Spirit of Ireland's key people. Various Government Depts. have already had meetings with the Spirit of Ireland and early feedback is already very encouraging.

Please go to to learn more and get involved in a national debate. You will find a red button with "PLEASE, PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!"

So what I really need Bloggers to do is to spread the word virally through the blogging community and get Ireland as a nation to debate this idea. This is truly a YES WE CAN opportunity for your country!

Also see copy of today's press release...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughts on US Masters and Golf Generally

I'm increasingly enjoying watching major golf tournaments on TV. Over Easter I was well tuned in to the four days of the US Masters in Augusta, Georgia. BBC had coverage in High Definition via the Sky HD box and the golf course looked glorious on our 50 inch HD plasma TV. Taking in the many panoramas of this beautiful location (example photo on left) sometimes made you forget about the golf and agree with the spirit of the sentiment associated with Mark Twain...that roaming a golf course is a beautiful walk - but spoiled by having to hit balls!

Personally, I only play golf once per year at a nice annual event organised by a company whom I do business with. I don't even own a set of clubs and I've a hopelessly short golf swing - spawned from my youth of playing short pitch and putt courses. It's just as well that the yearly event is in a team scramble format as I would not be allowed near a golf course otherwise. Thankfully my putting is average enough to escape total embarrassment. Overall I find golf a very frustrating game to play and I'm a great admirer of people who can play it properly. As an active tennis player I'm used to hitting the fast moving target of a tennis ball. In a golf drive the ball is a pleasingly stationary target and there is plenty of time to prepare for the shot.....yet it is still so hard to do it right!

So, I'm a keen golf watcher rather than a golf player. But I'm beginning to think I've been watching too much of it recent years. This fact just dawned on me because by middle of the third day of the tournament by some miracle I actually successfully picked Angel Cabrera to win the Masters. Why? Well my reasoning was twofold. During Saturday two average guys who had never won a major before were leading the tournament (Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry). I also noticed that Angel's score was creeping up to get nearer. I had watched Angel play and win the 2007 US Open. His demeanor always gives me the impression of a guy who is relaxed and doesn't tighten mentally on big occasions. So I felt...well Angel might not be as skilled as the best in the game but he should be mentally better than Chad and Kenny when it comes to the crunch on the final day.

On a slightly different subject, an observation stuck me when it got to the exciting 3-man playoff. The three finalists were all technically overweight with varying sized bellies! Kenny Perry is 48 years old and could have made history by being the oldest winner of this - or indeed any - major tournament. Both he and to a lesser extent Chad Campbell had visible paunches. But Angel Cabrera (photo left) is even more overweight and at 40 later this year he is not exactly in the flush of youth either. His shape and mannerisms on the course reminded me fondly of my late father (who was a keen golfer himself). The three of them were such a contrast to the superbly trim, athletic and toned Tiger Woods. It all re-enforces the commonly stated joke that playing golf well is 50% mental....and the other 50% is mental too!

There were plenty of other interesting players to watch in this years Masters. Tiger Woods was coming back, we had the great Phil Mickelson and of course the wonderful Irish interests with Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and the exciting new force of the teenager Rory McIlroy.
Looking forward to the US Open in June!