Irish planners reject Shannonbridge biomass plan

9 August 2019

The develpers of an ESB power plant in Offaly, Ireland, has been refused permission to convert from peat to biomass firing by An Bord Pleanála (ABP), the country’s planning authority.

ESB had applied for permission to gradually transition its 150 MW Shannonbridge peat power plant to biomass, but ABP cited concerns over continued peat firing and the transport of biomass fuel to the site among its reasons for turning down the application.

The Irish energy firm wanted to continue burning peat past a December 2020 deadline until 2027 to help it manage the transition to biomass. However ABP said an end to burning peat was a “key component within national climate and energy policy” to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The planning board also criticised the “lack of information” around where Bord na Móna – which operates the plant – would source biomass.

Delivering biomass to the power plant “would give rise to unsustainable transportation movements on a substandard regional road network,” ABP said. The proposal would therefore be contrary to sustainable development in the area, it added.

West Offaly Power is a milled peat power station equipped with circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boiler technology. It is one of the largest purpose-built peat-fired stations in the world and was built to replace the aging 125 MW Shannonbridge power station in 2004.

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