Bid to extend Edenderry Power station life to 2030

Bord na Móna is to apply for planning permission to transform Edenderry Power Station into Ireland's first power plant fuelled solely by sustainable biomass.

The semi-state body, which has planning permission to burn peat and biomass at the station until the end of 2023, wants to extend operations from 2024 until the end of 2030.

If its upcoming planning application is given the green light by Offaly County Council, Bord na Mona says that it will provide many benefits to local communities, “not least that it will continue to provide good direct and indirect employment in Ireland's Just Transition Region”. The plant currently employs 62 workers and contributes an estimated €15m to the local economy each year.

Approximately 100 additional workers are currently involved in the harvesting and supply of peat for the station. Bord na Móna says that the move away from peat supply jobs will, to a large extent, be offset by roles in biomass supply and logistics.

The firm also says that the plant will act as a “transition technology” until more zero emissions technologies become commercially viable and promote the indigenous bioenergy market. At present, the firm says that 80 per cent of the station's biomass is sourced from Irish suppliers.

Edenderry Power Plant was opened in 2002 and became a co-fired (peat and biomass) facility in 2008. Bord na Móna says that this year, biomass will account for 62 per cent of the fuel used to fire the plant.

The news that Bord na Móna intends to apply for planning permission for to extend the operating life of the plant has been welcomed by Deputy Barry Cowen.

“It will be good for the local economy and good for communities. It will be biomass only and we look forward to the prospect of the plant continuing its role in the provision of energy to the grid.”