Nine new gas-fired power stations are scheduled to be built in Ireland by 2024 to meet the rising demand for electricity and to avert potential power shortages on the island.
The proposed new plants will be built in areas including Athlone and Rochefort Bridge in Westmeath, Galway and Dublin following a recent capacity auction held by network operator Eirgrid jointly with SONI in Northern Ireland.
Eight of the new factories are in the republic, and one is in the north. A new biomass power plant will also be developed in Offaly by a subsidiary of Bord na Mauna.
In the auction, the results of which were published on Friday, organizers tripled the price of payments companies will receive for electricity produced at the new plants, after a similar auction last year failed to attract sufficient interest.
Some of the new power plants will be built by existing players in the Irish power generation market, such as ESB, while others will be built by new investors in the sector here. Among the biggest bids won at auction, one includes newcomer Kilshane Energy, which plans to spend €150 million on a 253-megawatt plant in Huntstown in north Dublin.
Kilshane is represented by Northern Irish businessman Stuart Draven, although its financial backers are not yet clear from the new entity’s corporate filings. I have already submitted a layout request for the proposed plant.
Castlelost Flex Gen, backed by the investors behind Lumcloon Energy, has won its discussion to build a large gas plant and battery storage facility in Rochfortbridge, which local reports have estimated could represent an investment of up to €500 million.
Bord Gáis Energy has won a tender to build two facilities in Dublin and Athlone, jointly with its joint venture partner Mountside Partners, backed by energy entrepreneur Brian Keogh.
A spokesperson for Board Jess Energy said: « We are pleased to invest in additional flexible power generation that will support the critical growth of renewable energy while maintaining a stable energy supply in Ireland. » « The technology selected to run on green hydrogen could also be transformed in the future to support Ireland’s ambition to decarbonize the electricity system. »
Backers of Tynagh’s existing plant in Galway, which is owned by the majority of Czech investors, also won a new tender for a new gas station at a nearby site.
The proposed new gas stations, which are all in various stages of the planning process, will be able to be up and running at short notice, for use in supporting the grid in times of high demand.
In total after the auction, 1,167 megawatts of new gas-fired power plants were proposed. A megawatt is enough power for a thousand homes.
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