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04/08/2021

ESB to develop 'renewable energy centre' at site of closed Offaly power station

ESB to develop 'renewable energy centre' at site of closed Offaly power station

ESB to develop 'renewable energy centre' at site of closed Offaly power station

ESB has announced that it is developing plans to use cutting-edge technologies at its Midland sites in Shannonbridge in Offaly and Lanesborough in Longford.

This will facilitate more renewable electricity on Ireland’s grid and, in turn, help the country achieve its climate goals by 2030, according to the company.

Shannonbridge Power Station was closed last December after an announcement was made back in 2019, much to the shock of workers and locals. A similar situation occurred in Lanesborough. 

"Though the large industrial power stations will be demolished in line with our planning obligations, the company is exploring how other buildings on the sites could be handed over for use by community groups," ESB said about the stations in both areas.

Following the closure of the stations, ESB engineering teams engaged with the Just Transition Commissioner and County Councils to consider alternative uses for the existing plant and equipment.

"Unfortunately, having considered commercial and climate action realities, in particular, no viable solution was found to repurpose the plants," they added.

"However, ESB can confirm that, following a comprehensive feasibility study in recent months, both our sites at Shannonbridge and Lanesborough have the potential for providing energy services which would facilitate the growth in renewable generation. This position was validated by an external engineering consultancy.   

"In this context, ESB is currently developing planning applications for both station sites as renewable energy centres, in anticipation of future competitive tenders to be held by EirGrid and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). The proposed technology includes synchronous condensers and energy storage capabilities at both locations. Detailed environmental assessments will be carried out in support of those applications."

Should these applications be successful, ESB’s plans would then enable the company to develop these sites within the appropriate regulatory, environmental and planning timelines.

"ESB remains committed to the Midlands through the development of these projects, its €5m contribution to the Just Transition fund and its Networks operations which employ over 400 highly skilled engineers, technicians and office workers in the region - as well as our National Training Centre for Network Technicians in Portlaoise," they said on Friday.

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