An Irish unit of US stock market-listed group Argan has signed multi-million-euro engineering and construction services contracts with ESB to build three gas-fired power plants in Dublin as part of measures to underpin the country’s stretched generation capacity.
The three plants – each capable of generating 63.5MW of power – are expected to come on stream near the end of 2024. They will help to provide power to the national grid when renewable energy sources are not capable of meeting electricity demand.
Ireland’s power grid has been under strain, primarily due to the large number of data centres that have been built here. They can require as much energy as a large town.
The ESB has inked the contracts for the three new power stations with Argan’s Atlantic Projects Company (APC).
Two of the so-called FlexGen Power Plants will be located at Poolbeg in Dublin. The third, called the Corduff FlexGen Power Plant, will be built in Goddamendy, which is in the Blanchardstown area.
“All three projects cleared the applicable capacity auction earlier this year and are expected to operate intermittently during peak periods of electricity demand and as back-up supply options when renewable electricity generation is limited,” noted Argan.
“A full notice to proceed has been received and project activities have commenced. The completion of each power plant is expected to occur near the end of fiscal (year) 2024.”
APC is currently completing a project to install gas-fired power generation at a major data centre in the Dublin area.
“The Irish Government has recognised that the successful development of data centres in the country is a key aspect in promoting Ireland as a digital economy hotspot in Europe,” noted Argan in its results.
“The stewards of the electricity supply in Ireland recognise that the large increase in electricity demand presented by the growth of the data centre industry represents an evolving, significant risk to the security of the supply.”
ESB confirmed that it had secured the three projects for delivery in October 2024, but expects them to be in operation “well in advance” of that date as it is “accelerating the delivery timetable”.
“This aero-derivative technology is designed to ramp up and ramp down quickly to support the growing intermittent wind and solar power on Ireland’s electricity system and will enhance the ability to add more renewable generation to the Irish system,” ESB said.