Power plant wins major contract

Tarbert plant secures contract to supply state's back-up needs

Dónal Nolan

Tabert Island power plant has secured a major contract to act as a back-up supply for the State under the new single all-island energy market (I-SEM), which comes into effect in May.

The announcement has been welcomed as 'a good day' for the 30 workers at the plant, effectively guaranteeing their positions for the 16 months of the contract and underpinning jobs at Tarbert in the longer-term.

The contract comes amid deep uncertainty for consumers as Brexit looks set to see the UK leaving the Integrated European Market in a move expected to drive prices up considerably.

The I-SEM (Integrated Single Electricity Market) will establish the Republic and Northern Ireland as a single wholesale electricity market from May.

SSE, which owns the 590MW thermal generation plant Tarbert Island, said it was 'pleased' with the awarding of the contract which gives the company 'clarity' into the immediate future of its operations in Ireland.

Fianna Fáil TD John Brassil said it comes as a 'shot in the arm' to the community: "This is a good day for the workers at the plant, and for those who supply services and products to the plant. This is a new 16-month contract to run from May 2018 to September 2019 as part of the roll-out of the new Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) across the island of Ireland." The contract will see Tarbert paid even when electricity is not being used.

"This is a shot in the arm to the local community and will allow local management to begin planning for the future. Credit must go to SSE for its continued investment in the plant," Deputy Brassil said.