Friday 16 November 2018

BGE reignites €100m electricity plant plan

Bord Gais Energy (BGE) has reignited a €100m plan for a series of electricity projects across Ireland.
Bord Gais Energy (BGE) has reignited a €100m plan for a series of electricity projects across Ireland.

Fearghal O'Connor

Bord Gais Energy (BGE) has reignited a €100m plan for a series of electricity projects across Ireland.

The Greener Ideas partnership - a joint venture between the former State company and energy entrepreneur Brian Keogh's Mountside Partners - is seeking permission to build a 100MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) electricity plant at Monksland, in Athlone, Co Roscommon.

It has scrapped previous plans drawn up in 2009 for two further CCGT plants at sites in Kilkenny city and near Cahir, Co Tipperary. Instead, it is seeking planning permission to build two 100MW battery storage facilities at these sites.

The change of plan likely reflects huge growth in renewable energy over the past decade, and the ability for storage technology to allow further renewable power to be added to the grid in the future, said an industry source.

Greener Ideas - and others - have sought permission to build battery storage facilities in anticipation of national grid operator EirGrid running a special auction to bring storage technology on to the grid. EirGrid may opt for much smaller amounts of the new technology in the short-term and this will determine the outcome of such proposals.

In 2008, Mountside -which also owns 20pc of the 400MW Tynagh Energy plant in Galway - withdrew an earlier application for a similar 100MW open cycle gas turbine power station near Claremorris, Co Mayo. It was reported at the time that all four power stations would have seen total investment of €300m, but the new plans will likely have a substantially lower price tag and an industry source said the plan was likely still at "an embryonic phase", despite the fact that the partnership is a decade old.

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