Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on Environment and Climate Minister Eamon Ryan “to come clean” on any potential role two closed peat-fired power stations may have in providing emergency electricity supplies over the coming years.
he Roscommon-Galway representative was responding to comments that Minister Ryan made to this publication about the ESB-owned plants in Lanesborough, Co Longford and Shannonbridge, Co Offaly.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Farming Independent Minister Ryan said: “In terms of the two existing peat power plants, I wouldn’t rule out them having a central role in some of the emergency measures we are now going to need in terms of restoring power in the next four to five years, where we have to make sure that we have sufficient back-up power.
“I’d be hopeful the likes of ESB and Bord na Móna and other companies will see such locations as potential for what we need. It has good grid potential and it has good infrastructure if we can restore that.”
Reacting to the news, deputy Fitzmaurice said: “I believe the Minister needs to come out and publicly clarify these comments. Are the stations going to be reopened in some shape or form or not?
“If he does plan to reopen them to increase power generation capacity, what does he foresee using as the primary fuel? Are emergency powers going to be used in order to recommence harvesting peat again to fuel the stations?
“If he does have intentions to resume power generation at the plants in Lanesborough and Shannonbridge, then Bord na Móna must be notified – if they have not been already.
“In the months since the stations ceased operations, railway lines have been taken up and machinery has been sold off in auctions.
“Minister Ryan must clearly explain what plans he has in store for the closed peat-fired power stations over the next few years to deal with potential power shortages,” Mr Fitzmaurice concluded.
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