State’s energy woes, Irish banks at a disadvantage, and new jobs for Cork

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

The State faces keeping coal- and oil-burning electricity plants operating beyond their scheduled closing dates to avoid power cuts, in a likely blow to Government climate change ambitions. Barry O'Halloran reports that Eirgrid will today warn that rising demand and power plant closures could leave the Republic with an energy shortfall of 1,050 megawatts, one fifth of its peak requirements, by 2025.

In his analysis of Ireland's energy problems, Barry writes that the national electricity grid operator has been hit by a perfect storm of circumstances, including the closure of older power plants, problems luring new investment and steeper than expected rises in demand.

Meanwhile, the Government will reject a Social Democrats motion today to impose a moratorium on the further expansion of data centres, with Eamon Ryan dismissing it as a "blunt instrument". However, in an amendment to the motion, the Government has said all sections of the economy, including data centres, will be subject to sectoral emissions ceilings, effectively limiting uninhibited expansion of the centres. Harry McGee has the details.

Irish banks are at a disadvantage to European peers amid an ongoing bonus ban, cumbersome repossession regime and high capital demands, according to a new wide-ranging report by industry lobby group Banking & Payments Federation Ireland. The report on the future of Irish retail banking, at a time when Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland – the final two overseas-owned banks – are exiting the market, said the sector is at an "inflection point". Joe Brennan reports.

Altada, a Cork-based company that has developed an artificial intelligence-based platform to help create operational efficiencies, is to create more than 100 new jobs after securing $11.5 million in investment. Charlie Taylor writes that the money, which comes on top of a €1.5 million funding round earlier this year, is led by Rocktop Partners, a Texas-based alternative investment manager that was originally one of the Cork company's clients.

Vodafone Ireland is to invest more than €2 million in a multi-year digital skill training programme for older people. The nationwide programme, which will be delivered through a mix of online courses and in-person mentoring, is being carried out through the Vodafone Ireland Foundation in partnership with Alone and Active Retirement Ireland. It aims to reach more than 230,000 older people over the next five years through its purpose-designed education platform. Ciara O'Brien has the details.

In Commercial Property, Fiona Reddan reports that Johnny Ronan has lodged a planning application to develop 44 luxury apartments for the rental market at Appian Way in Dublin 4. It is the latest effort to develop the prominent 0.23 acre site, which is at the junction of Leeson Street, as it has laid vacant for about a decade and a half.

Fiona also reports that Dublin might be getting another new hotel now that a site with full planning permission for a 244-bedroom hotel has come to market seeking €15 million in The Liberties in the heart of Dublin's city centre. Located at Molyneux Yard in Dublin 8, the proposed development will comprise an eight storey over basement level contemporary hotel, with cafe, restaurant and bar.

The former Gallaher cigarette factory site in Tallaght has come to the market quoting €16.5 million. Originally built in the 1950s, the factory closed in 2003 following a corporate restructuring at European level. The site was then sold at the height of the boom to Bernard McNamara and Gerry O'Reilly and subsequently sold in 2012 by receivers to the present owners.

You can read all the rest of today's Commercial Property news, here.

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