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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Alamy Stock Photo The Aghada Power Plant in Co Cork
# power generation
ESB to lodge planning permission for new gas-fired generator in Cork later this year
The proposed plant will be located within the existing Aghada Power Plant.

THE ESB ARE to seek planning permission to build a new gas-fired power plant outside Cork city later this year.

A spokesperson for the ESB confirmed to The Journal that they were to lodge a planning application with Cork County Council before the end of the year for the new power plant.

“ESB is working on the development of a planning application for an open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) plant within the grounds of Aghada Power Plant in Cork,” said the spokesperson.

“This application is expected to be lodged before the end of the year.”

The plant itself will be a gas turbine generator and is expected to be able to generate 299 megawatts of power when active, of which 297 megawatts will be directly sent to the Irish electricity grid.

This is over half of the 513 megawatts of contracted generation which was planned to be available this winter. However, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), says that this contracted capacity dropped out and has lead to electricity supply concerns.

While it will run on natural gas, there is no storage proposed within the site and the turbine will be supplied through an existing gas pipeline.

The site is located within the Aghada Power Station in Cork, which is located 13km from Midleton.

Proposals from the ESB were initially brought to An Bord Pleanála under a Strategic Infrastructure Development consultation. However, the board ruled last week that it didn’t qualify for a Strategic Infrastructure Development and would need to be directly submitted to the local council.

The plans come amid concern around Ireland’s electricity supplies, with key stakeholders appearing before an Oireachtas Committee earlier this week.

Representatives from Irish grid operator EirGrid said that the risks to electricity supplies this winter were similar to 2021, but that there was a “heightened risk” due to the rest of Europe’s energy supplies being “tight”.

“It’s slightly worse than last year but similar, yes,” EirGrid’s chief operations officer Rodney Doyle replied when asked about the gap between electricity supply and demand in Ireland.

CEO of EirGrid, Mark Foley, told the Committee that the primary risk to electricity supplies this winter would be a lack of wind in Ireland, which would mean that additional energy would need to be bought from the UK.

Moves to propose the new gas plant also come just weeks after the Government agreed carbon emission reduction targets, with the electricity sector being asked to slash their emissions by 75% by 2030.

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