Midland Power Stations
ESB has been generating electricity in the Midlands since the 1950s, creating strong connections with the local communities there. Our two Midlands stations - West Offaly Power (Shannonbridge) and Lough Ree Power (Lanesborough) - will operate in their current configuration until 2020.
In line with our commitment to leading Ireland's transition to a low-carbon future, we are exploring the conversion of our Midlands stations from firing on peat to sustainable biomass on a phased basis. This transition is an innovative solution to reduce our carbon footprint at both stations.
Since 1990, we have reduced the carbon intensity of our generation fleet by one third. By 2030, we are targeting that at least 40% of our generation will come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass, reducing the carbon intensity of our generation by another two thirds.
Coupled with initiatives to electrify heat and transport, the electricity sector, which currently accounts for less than 20% of Ireland’s carbon emissions, can become a key driver in the decarbonisation of society.
The transition to biomass would initially be fuelled by both indigenous and imported sustainable biomass. The biomass we are proposing to use is organic materials that comes from plants – such as woodchip, sawdust, brash, pellets and other sustainable materials. As forestry crops mature, and with the potential growth of the indigenous biomass sector, we anticipate that the indigenous supply chain will grow and displace the requirement for imported fuels.
This would allow the plants to continue to support the regional economy and local jobs, subject to the cost inputs and supports making this a viable business case for investment. We have been trialling biomass as a fuel and, so far, the results are very promising.
How long will this transition take?
Assuming that we secure the appropriate planning permissions, environmental licence changes and ability to deliver a robust business case for investment, we will use the existing generation infrastructure, with minimal interventions, to immediately transition to cleaner renewable energy by reducing peat intake and replacing it with biomass over time.
The plants would ultimately transition to become fully biomass-powered stations by the end of the 2020s.
ESB Working with Local Communities
As we always seek to be a good neighbour and as part of the planning process, we have hosted pre-planning public consultations in Shannonbridge and Lanesborough to talk with local communities, and discuss their questions and concerns. More than 100 people attended these consultations, including the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, and representatives from Bord na Móna and our power stations.
Get in touch with our local community officer, David Linnane, at any time, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling him on 086 255 8111.
You can also email email@example.com at any time.