ESB closing power stations in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro

Photo shows, West Offaly Power Station in Shannonbridge.

The ESB power stations in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro are set to close at the end of next year, the ESB has announced.

The closure of the West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power peat-fired stations was confirmed in a statement by the ESB.

Last year the ESB submitted an application to An Bord Pleanála last year seeking planning permission to transition West Offaly Power from peat to biomass over a number of years starting in 2020. That planning application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála in July 2019.

"Since then, ESB has undertaken a review of the options for both West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power stations post 2020 in the context of the requirements of the single electricity market (SEM). Having considered the key planning, environmental and commercial issues associated with peat and biomass, regrettably there is no viable business model beyond 2020.  Therefore both stations will cease generation of electricity at the end of December 2020," the statement said.

The current planning permissions for West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power will expire at the end of 2020.

"Given our long history of power generation in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro, this is a matter of significant regret for ESB.

ESB very much appreciates the commitment of our staff and the support of the broader community over many decades during which ESB, in strong collaboration with Bord na Móna, played a key role in the development of the economy in the Midlands, " the ESB statement added.

The ESB said it will now begin the process of engaging with our staff and stakeholders to prepare for an orderly closure of the stations.

The Government has recently announced the creation of a €6m Just Transition Fund for the Midlands.  In light of the closure of Lough Ree Power and West Offaly Power, ESB will make an additional contribution of €5m to this fund, the semi-state company said today.

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