25 March 2010
The decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission to Lumcloon Energy Ltd for a 350MW gas fired power station in County Offaly has been welcomed by environmental consultants at WYG Ireland.
WYG applied for planning permission, on behalf of Lumcloon Energy Ltd under the Strategic Infrastructure (SID) Act, 2006, introduced to fast-track certain major public and private infrastructure projects. To date, seventeen private SID applications have been lodged and the Lumcloon application is the seventh to be granted permission.
The planning application was lodged with An Bord Pleanála in August 2009 and following a public oral hearing held in January 2010, the Board granted permission with conditions last week, on 15th March. It is expected that construction on the site will begin later this year, with the plant being operational in 2012.
The project, set to create 500 jobs during the construction stage and up to 50 jobs when the plant is operational, will significantly help Ireland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from the energy generation sector, support wind generation and replace the current less efficient plant.
Michael Cunningham, Head of Environmental & Planning, WYG Ireland said: “In the last 10 years, we have seen major changes in the electricity industry with deregulation, strong growth in demand, entry by new providers and the successful establishment of the Single Electricity Market.
“Government policy is now focused on ensuring that secure, reliable, and competitively priced energy sources are readily available. Correspondingly, there is a strong emphasis to urgently address climate change through the transition of Ireland’s power generation portfolio to a low carbon, energy efficient and more environmentally sustainable model,” he added.
Once developed, the new plant at Lumcloon will support and facilitate wind generation in Ireland, in accordance with the target to derive 40% of energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020. The plant will provide highly flexible and responsive system support when wind generation capacity is low. Furthermore, it will contribute to the 60% of energy generation from non renewable sources, but will do so by producing much lower carbon emissions when compared to the peat-fired plant it will replace.
Michael said: “The target to generate 35% of our electricity requirement from wind is very realistic, provided we make the necessary investment in the grid network and have sufficient flexible backup that can act quickly in response to demand and meteorological conditions.”
Image: Artist’s impression of the Power Plant, courtesy of Lumcloon Energy