A Midlands TD has claimed that the ESB are tendering for a company to demolish two regional power stations.
The Lough Ree and Shannonbridge facilities are due to close later this year as part of ESB plans to move to more environmentally friendly ways of generating electricity.
The just transition commissioner previously claimed that it would be unfortunate if the power stations were demolished and alternative uses for the structures should be examined.
Offaly TD Barry Cowen told the Dail that the ESB are already engaging in a process to knock down the structures:
The ESB this afternoon has confirmed that the current planning permissions for the West Offaly and Lough Ree Power sites includes an obligation to decommission the power plant and remediate the sites by the end of 2022.
A spokesperson has also confimred thatt prior to any development opportunity taking place, ESB must satisfy the legal obligation to remediate the existing sites.
The full statement from the ESB is below:
ESB took the difficult decision in November 2019 to close the two Midland Stations. This decision followed an extensive review of all options and was based on the key planning, climate and commercial issues associated with generation at the sites. Regrettably, ESB concluded that there is no viable business model to operate the plants beyond 2020.
The current planning permissions for the West Offaly and Lough Ree Power sites includes an obligation to decommission the power plant and remediate the sites by the end of 2022. Prior to any development opportunity taking place, ESB must satisfy the legal obligation to remediate the existing sites.
ESB has placed an exploratory notice in advance of the anticipated sale of some plant. This is not a tender notice. Its purpose is to assess interest in the market for equipment in a number of ESB plants, including the Midlands, as well as plant in Dublin and Cork. It is envisaged that any purchaser would be buying the equipment for use as spare parts.
As recommended by the Just Transition Commissioner, ESB engineering teams are considering alternative uses for which the existing site and facilities might be utilised. However, for clarity, the power plant equipment cannot be used for any purpose beyond December 2020 as neither the planning consents nor environmental licenses cover any such use.