An Taisce fear ghost gas power plants

A NEW power station planned for Purcellsinch Kilkenny has been described as completely unnecessary by An Taisce.

A NEW power station planned for Purcellsinch Kilkenny has been described as completely unnecessary by An Taisce.

An Taisce have written to Kilkenny County Council to outline their objection to the power station. According to An Taisce there is a surplus of power generation in Ireland at the moment and the building of further gas fired stations could lead to a situation where there are “ghost gas plants”. The letter to Kilkenny county council states “The country has experienced the impacts of the surplus of houses in the housing market leading to ghost estates. It is likely that ghost gas plants will become a reality because of the surplus of electricity – especially gas generated electricity.”

An Taisce quoted statistics that currently highlight the fact that there is a 14% surplus of electricity over peak demand with out taking into consideration wind power. With new power generation plants coming online, in Great Island, Wexford and another planned for Tarbert in Kerry the surplus of generated power over the peak winter demand will be 28%. If wind power is factored in the surplus increase further to 38%.

An Taisce go on to quote the CEO of Bord Gais, John Mulins, who stated on RTE radio 1 “With the demand restructuring in Ireland over the last couple of years, there’s probably an excess of [electricity] capacity.”

A further query raised by An Taisce in their submission to Kilkenny County Council focused on security of gas supply. Currently the vast majority of Irish gas is imported through pipelines Northern Ireland and Scotland. Its anticipated that 75% of Ireland’s gas will be supplied by the Corrib off shore gas field when it comes online until 2015 when this will reduce to 30%. An as yet unbuilt liquid gas terminus in Shannon is then to take up the short fall. An Taisce point out that the Shannon liquid gas will cost approximately 3 billion euro build and is currently on hold pending a review by the EU. These factors as well as an international statement by a group of gas producing companies that the era of cheap gas is over has given An Taisce reason to question Greener Idea’s plans to build further gas powered generation stations.

In its planning application Greener Idea’s Limited has made reference to various planning and energy documents including The National Spatial Strategy (2002) and Government’s Energy White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland (Energy Policy Framework 2007-2020). An Taisce submits that all references to these regarding demand and supply are now inaccurate due to the change in Ireland’s economic circumstances and should be stricken from the decision process.

Kilkenny County Council has as yet not responded to An Taisce’s letter regarding the proposed Power Station.