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News : Irish Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15

ESB to close three power plants
By Finfacts Team
Jun 21, 2007, 17:00

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The ESB's existing power plant at Aghada, located close to the entrance of Cork Harbour
Ireland's State electricity supplier, the ESB has approved the closure of 1300MW of Power Generation plant by 2010.

The approval meets with the terms set out by the Commission for Energy Regulation and the Minister for Energy as part of ESB’s authorisation to construct a new 430MW station at Aghada, Co Cork.

Around 300 staff will be affected but there will be no compulsory redundancies.

This programme will bring ESB’s Power Generation’s share of the Single Energy Market to circa 27% by 2010 (ESB Power Generation’s market share in the Irish market currently stands at 44% by production).

Following today’s Board approval, ESB said its management will continue to engage with trade unions around the future strategy for Power Generation.

ESB management will also meet with the CER to discuss a timeline around the proposed programme between now and 2010.

The planned transfer of the national grid to a separate company, Eirgrid, and which will operate the networks on a not-for-profit basis, coupled with the power station closures, is viewed by trade unions as asset stripping which reduces the value of the ESB by over €1 billion.

In January 2007, the then Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey approved the building of a new €300m power station in Aghada, Co Cork.

Last December, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published a report, which warned of a high risk of electricity supply cuts because of inadequate spare capacity to meet demand. 

While the Minister gave the  ESB the go-ahead to build the plant, all power it produces must be sold to rival electricity operators such as Airtricity and Viridian. The Minister also asked that the new plant be ring fenced as a separate company within the ESB.

The 1300MW of plant to close comprises:

  • Great Island (216MW)             (Wexford) (Oil)
  • Poolbeg Thermal (461MW)       (Dublin) (Oil / Gas)
  • Tarbert (590MW)                    (Kerry) (Oil)
  • Marina Steam Turbine (27MW) (Cork) (Gas)
Stations (&MW) Staff Numbers Availability
02 -05
Tarbert (590MW) 130 staff 61% 76% 1969
Marina Steam Turbine (27MW) 43 Staff 87% 82% 1953
Poolbeg Thermal Units 1,2,3 (461MW) 120 Staff 60% 61% 1971/1972 /1978
Great Island (216MW) 65 Staff 59% 45% 1967

Poolbeg comprises of two separate plants: the three thermal units (461MW) and the combined cycle gas plant (460MW) which opened in 2000 will remain in operation

Marina Gas Turbine (85MW) will remain in operation.

© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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