Planners refuse permission for Kilshane power plant

Fingal County Council says application was short on information

Planners have refused permission for one of several new power plants proposed to tackle looming electricity shortages.

Kilshane Energy sought permission from Fingal County Council in Dublin last December to build a gas-burning power station capable of providing enough electricity for almost 300,000 homes.

Fingal rejected the application saying the information Kilshane provided did not assure planners that the electricity plant would not affect the environment or aircraft using nearby Dublin Airport.

The refusal sets back efforts by national grid operator EirGrid, and the Single Electricity Market Operator, to recruit new power plants to tackle a squeeze on energy supplies set to hit by the middle of the decade.

Kilshane’s opponents include environmentalists, Friends of the Earth, who EirGrid, which supported the plan, is paying €60,000 over three years to help inform the public about the Republic’s shift to renewable energy.

‘Adverse impacts’

Planners said they were not satisfied that the proposed development on Kilshane Road, “would not give rise to adverse impacts on the green infrastructure, biodiversity, ecology, archaeology, landscape character and the visual amenities of the area”.

Fingal council added that, based on the information submitted, planners were not satisfied that the power plant would not interfere with aircraft safety and navigation.

Planners also could not establish if the electricity plant would not “adversely affect the integrity” of special conservation areas.

The €150 million plant would have had the capacity to generate 293 mega watts (MW) of electricity, enough to power almost 300,000 homes.

The terms of the contract issued by the Single Electricity Market Operator require power plants such as Kilshane’s to meet planning and regulatory deadlines.

Kilshane Energy, backed by Belfast businessman Stuart Draffin, has three weeks to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

EirGrid said it was a matter for the appropriate planning authority to decide whether or not to give the project permission.

All businesses that participated in the auction in which Kilshane was awarded its power generation contract had to have submitted planning applications before taking part, the grid company noted.

Local group Fingal One Future welcomed the news. Spokesman Pat O’Gorman noted that Government wanted renewable power to generate 80 per cent of electricity by 2030. “So why eight new gas-powered stations?” he asked.

Government policy calls for the construction of new gas power plants to guarantee energy security and aid the switch to more renewable electricity.

Debate

Rosi Leonard, Friends of the Earth network support co-ordinator, sought a debate on energy use.

She claimed that people were struggling to pay energy bills while “data centres to power big corporations are guzzling up vast amounts of electricity”.

EirGrid works with Friends of the Earth in a three-way partnership with European body Renewable Grid Initiative, to encourage public debate on measures needed to bring more green electricity on to the Irish system.

A Friends of the Earth spokeswoman stressed that campaigns such as that against Kilshane were separate from its deal with EirGrid.

She noted that Kilshane Energy could continue operating until 2050 “long after we are supposed to be done with fossil fuel”.

Latest Stories