ESB launches bid to demolish power station

ESB is pushing ahead with plans to demolish West Offaly Power station in Shannonbridge and Lough Ree Power in Lanesborough and to develop new infrastructure on the sites including battery storage systems.

The company has launched a public consultation process on the proposal and has submitted a request for consultation to An Bord Pleanála as part of possible bid for planning permission.

The company, in a statement, said it will be “seeking planning permission from the respective local authorities for works on the West Offaly Power station site in Shannonbridge and Lough Ree Power in Lanesborough”.

“ESB will apply for permission to demolish the former station, which ceased generating electricity in late 2020, and to develop new infrastructure including battery storage systems. These services are essential to support Ireland’s transition to clean and decarbonised energy”.

These systems in general absorb and inject energy as dictated by the national power grid and act as energy reservoirs.

An online public consultation event is being held on Tuesday, November 30 to provide more information on the project and to allow members of the public have an input.

The company said it is preparing an environmental impact assessment report as part of the plan.

Meanwhile, the ESB has also taken the first step to a potential planning application to An Bord Pleanala for a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and Synchronous Condensor at each of the two former power station sites.

ESB submitted the request, on November 18, to An Bord Pleanála seeking a formal pre-application consultation meeting under legislation governing Strategic Infrastructure Developments (SID), the fast track planning process for large scale development which essentially bypasses the local authority planning process.

Following this meeting, An Bord Pleanála will rule whether the documents submitted constitute a reasonable basis for a SID application – and if so, a formal planning application can then be lodged directly with the board.

A decision is due from An Bord Pleanála on April 1.