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23/07/2021

ESB confirms plans for Shannonbridge Power Station

ESB confirms plans for Shannonbridge Power Station

ESB confirms plans for Shannonbridge Power Station

After months of speculation and uncertainty the ESB has this week announced in a press release that it will definitely demolish the €240 million Power Station in Shannonbridge.

In its statement the ESB said that, following the closure of the power stations in Shannonbridge and Lanesborough, ESB engineering teams engaged with the Just Transition Commissioner Kieran Mulvey 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.”

The company said the large industrial power plants have to be demolished in order to comply with the relevant planning obligations. The company said it's exploring how other buildings on the sites could be handed over for use by community groups.

It announced that it is developing plans to use “cutting-edge technologies” in Lanesborough and Shannonbridge that will “facilitate ever-more renewable electricity on Ireland’s grid and, in turn, help the country achieve its climate goals by 2030.

“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, the 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, the ESB says its plans would then enable the company to successfully develop these sites within the appropriate regulatory, environmental and planning timelines.

The ESB said it 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 its National Training Centre for Network Technicians.

The ESB's press release was greeted with considerable scepticism and some annoyance by local councillors during Monday afternoon's meeting of Offaly County Council. Cllr John Carroll said more information is needed about the synchronous condensers and the energy storage capabilities. Cllrs Peter Ormond and John Clendennen said the ESB should have contacted the Councillors first before releasing last week's press release.

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