Appetite for electricity growing fast, says Bord Gáis MD

Gas and electricity supply company may build a second power plant to meet demand

Bord Gáis Energy managing director Catherine O’Kelly: ‘Part of being a customer supply business in Ireland is ensuring that you’ve got the supply to back that up.’ Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Bord Gáis Energy managing director Catherine O’Kelly: ‘Part of being a customer supply business in Ireland is ensuring that you’ve got the supply to back that up.’ Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

 

Bord Gáis Energy may build a second power plant to cash in on the Republic’s growing appetite for electricity, says its managing director, Catherine O’Kelly.

The former State utility, now part of British group Centrica, owns a gas-fired electricity generating plant in Whitegate, Co Cork, which it built for more than €400 million.

In an interview with The Irish Times on Thursday, Ms O’Kelly says that the company is “certainly looking at” building another power plant as there is a need for new supply to match growing electricity demand.

“Part of being a customer supply business in Ireland is ensuring that you’ve got the supply to back that up,” she points out.

The Bord Gáis MD notes that demand for electricity is increasing as the economy expands and multinationals build new data centres close to cities such as Dublin and Galway.

Ms O’Kelly does not specify if the new plant will be gas-fired, like Whitegate, or powered by renewable energy

Data centres could double demand for electricity in the Dublin area by 2028. Meanwhile, official figures show that the Republic’s overall need for power could increase by one-third to 40 terawatt hours – enough for 40 million homes – by 2027.

Ms O’Kelly does not specify if the new plant will be gas-fired, like Whitegate, or powered by renewable energy.

She also agrees with a recent International Energy Agency recommendation that the Republic should consider building a plant to convert liquid natural gas (LNG) back to gas to help safeguard supplies.

LNG can be shipped from any location in the world, and such a plant would add to existing resources of the fuel, which produces around 60 per cent of electricity used here.

The Corrib field, the country’s sole gas reservoir, will run out midway through the next decade.

Bord Gáis supplies natural gas and electricity to homes and businesses. The company recently signed up its 700,000th customer.