Kerry Group plant joins grid as part of natural gas roll out
Kerry Group's ingredients plant at Listowel is being powered by natural gas as the build-out of the gas grid to the town advances.
The plant is an "anchor load" tenant, which has made the Gas Networks Ireland project viable.
Work is continuing to hook up the rest of the town, and is expected to be finished by the end of next month.
The project involves laying 41km of gas pipeline running from a transmission station at Foynes.
Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), the State body responsible for the gas grid, has said it will only extend the network to towns which are not yet connected to the network if a viable business case can be made for the project.
Large potential users like Kerry Group help generate the majority of the potential revenues needed to facilitate a project getting the green light.
GNI head of commercial Ian O'Flynn said he was "enormously grateful to the local communities and businesses of Listowel and north Kerry for their patience during our construction works".
"The delivery of natural gas to Listowel brings with it massive opportunity for local businesses and communities to benefit from safe, efficient and cost-effective heat and energy," he said. "We have also opened up the potential for customers to access renewable gas, which will be coming on stream and will be an increasingly important element of Ireland's energy supply for the future."
Kerry Group spokesman Jim Lee said the move would allow the company to reduce emissions and waste substantially because of the connection. He said Kerry wanted to maximise the sustainability of its operations as part of a commitment to supporting the dairy sector.