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ESB considering fuel storage services in Ireland and the UK


Capacity: Moneypoint power plant  in Co Clare

Capacity: Moneypoint power plant in Co Clare

Capacity: Moneypoint power plant in Co Clare

THE ESB is considering the provision of oil storage services at two of its generating stations, with plans to provide capacity for as much as 26 million litres of heavy fuel oil, or the equivalent of about 164,000 barrels.

The facilities could be provided at its coal-burning Moneypoint power plant in Co Clare, said the ESB, as well as its gas-fired Corby power station in Northamptonshire in the UK.

The semi-State firm has just issued a notice saying that it is examining the potential to offer the services.

The company pointed out that Moneypoint, which is due to stop burning coal by 2025, isn't operating anywhere near its capacity at the moment because the price of carbon and coal has made it too expensive. In February, it was reported that the plant had not generated any electricity for seven weeks.

However, Moneypoint - as with ESB assets in North Wall and Poolbeg in Dublin - has oil storage facilities. The Co Clare plant and the ESB's gas-fired stations can also burn oil and are mandated to have five days' oil reserves on site in the event of disruption to gas supplies.

The ESB can store enough coal at Moneypoint to operate the plant for between 10 and 12 weeks. But it can currently only store enough oil there to power it for one week.

The ESB has been considering if more reserves of heavy fuel oil should be available in the event that gas is not.

The company is still evaluating its options for Moneypoint.

The ESB recently revealed in its results for 2019 that it incurred a €55m exceptional charge for severance costs associated with its plan to close its peat-fired generation plants - Lough Ree Power and West Offaly Power - by the end of this year, and the reorganisation of Moneypoint.

The charge also related to costs incurred with the closure of its North Wall power station.

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The ESB's operating profit jumped 50pc to €682m last year, as revenue rose 8pc to €3.7bn.

It said the revenue increase was due to higher customer numbers and higher power prices, due to increased wholesale energy prices.

The ESB also owns NIE Networks in Northern Ireland, and has a 30pc share of generation on an all-island basis.

It supplies electricity and gas to about 1.5 million customers in Ireland and the UK.

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