8 November 2019
The current planning permissions for West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power will expire at the end of 2020.
ESB submitted an application to An Bord Pleanála in 2018 seeking planning permission to transition West Offaly Power from peat to biomass over a number of years starting in 2020. This planning application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála in July 2019. Since then, ESB has undertaken a review of the options for both West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power stations post 2020 in the context of the requirements of the single electricity market (SEM). Having considered the key planning, environmental and commercial issues associated with peat and biomass, regrettably there is no viable business model beyond 2020. Therefore both stations will cease generation of electricity at the end of December 2020.
Given our long history of power generation in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro, this is a matter of significant regret for ESB. ESB very much appreciates the commitment of our staff and the support of the broader community over many decades during which ESB, in strong collaboration with Bord na Móna, played a key role in the development of the economy in the midlands.
ESB will now begin the process of engaging with our staff and stakeholders to prepare for an orderly closure of the stations. The Government has recently announced the creation of a €6m Just Transition Fund for the midlands. In light of the closure of Lough Ree Power and West Offaly Power, ESB will make an additional contribution of €5m to this fund.