Reopening of Longford power station set to be delayed

An Taisce has lodged an objection to the EPA’s intention to reissue licence to operate

Plans to reopen a power station in Co Longford have suffered a setback after An Taisce lodged an objection to proposals to reissue the plant with a licence to operate.

The ESB shut down its Lough Ree power station in Lanesborough last month after falling foul of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the temperature of cooling water discharged from the facility into the Shannon.

Consequently, the ESB’s third largest peat-powered plant remains shut down until it can persuade the EPA that the plant’s operation has returned to compliance with the obligations of its environmental licence.

The EPA last week issued guidelines containing more than 112 conditions to the ESB on the revised licence for the Lough Ree power station. It then issued it with a “proposed determination” which outlined its intention to grant a revised licence.


However, any person can submit an objection or request an oral hearing into the application within 28 days. An objection to the licence determination has been lodged by An Taisce, as well as a number of other environmental groups.

An Taisce spokesman Ian Lumley said the EPA had "not considered the impact of continuing peat extraction".

"There is already a negative ruling by An Bord Pleanála on the Co Offaly plant, and those issues apply to Co Longford," he told RTÉ News. "We need to get out of peat as quickly as possible."

Mr Lumley was referring to a decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission to the ESB for its Edenderry power plant in Co Offaly.

In its objection to the Lough Ree facility, An Taisce highlighted the planning authority’s previous decision on Edenderry where it concluded the cessation of the use of peat as a fuel was “a key component within national climate and energy policy”.

It said the ending the use of peat would “reduce the generation of excessive greenhouse emissions from the established facility to assist in meeting the State’s domestic, EU and international climate change obligations in the energy sector”.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter