Release 19th August 2010: Endesa plans to convert former ESB station at
Tarbert from fuel to gas put on hold by An Bord Pleanála and local TD
criticised for encouraging anti-competitive behaviour by Shannon LNG.
An Bord Pleanála (the Irish Planning Authority) has requested that
Endesa submit further information to the Board on its plans to convert
the former ESB station at Tarbert from fuel to gas.
The news will surely be silently met with relief by staff at the plant
because approximately half the jobs at the plant would be lost if the
power station is converted to gas - no more fuel would be arriving by
boat to the plant for example as the gas would arrive by pipeline.
Converting to gas would see a drop in the number of staff to 38 from a
current 65, down from a peak of 240 four years ago and 90 when
the plant was taken over by Endesa - with no guarantee that even the 38
staff in the new plant would come from within the current staff ranks.
Continuing to run the power plant on fuel oil would also maintain
a strategic fuel mix which would reduce dependance on one source of
energy - gas. It would also mean that Shannon LNG, which is
hoping to be the only supplier of gas to Endesa from its proposed LNG
plant nearby, would not obtain a monopoly on power generation in
Even though the planning application qualified for assessment under the Strategic Infrastructure Act
of 2006, the decision by An Bord Pleanála clearly proves that it does
not consider the project to be in the national interest. The delay in
approving the project clearly proves that An Board Pleanála finds that
there is no strategic need for the project which would merit damaging
an environmentally-sensitive area. Endesa basically has a power station
already and there is no need to build a new one.
In its response to Endesa, An Bord Pleanla stated:
Board considers that insufficient consideration has been given to the
cumulative impacts arising from the overlap between the phased
construction of the CCGT plant and the operation of the existing plant
and that it has not been demonstrated on the basis of objective
information that the construction phase of the proposed development
would not give rise to significant effects on the Natura 2000 site, the
Shannon and River Fergus Estuaries SPA, in view of its conservation
status. In particular, it is considered that there is inadequate
baseline information presented in relation to birds, including the
particular importance of Tarbert Bay."
The cumulative impacts of each individual energy project on the Shannon
estuary must now be assessed. We are now calling once again for a
Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Shannon Estuary before any
individual project goes ahead which would sterlise the entire estuary
from any further development. The need for such a strategic assessment
has already been agreed by the European Parliament but has so far been
ignored by the Irish Government and Statutory bodies, in contravention
of EU Directives.
Hess LNG still requires a licence to pollute from
the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) , whose director
general, Dr. Mary Kelly, has already been quoted in the 'Irish Times'
of October 9th 2008 as stating:
"Strategic Environmental Assessments
(SEAs) would have to be imposed on all major projects, while the State
must comply with EU environmental legislation".
Safety Before LNG also criticises recent comments in the Dáil by local T.D. Jimmy Deenihan who called on the Minister to "knock heads together and get people to agree to a single pipe"
from the proposed Shannon LNG terminal to Endesa as this would make
Endesa and power generators in the region a hostage to Shannon
LNG-sourced gas and be clearly a breach of irish and european
Deputy Deenihan told the Dáil in April that Shannon LNG was "prepared to build a pipeline to
accommodate Endesa provided it receives certain assurances.It
is important that an assurance to the effect that if the project does
not proceed - which is highly unlikely - the company will be compensated
in respect of its investment."
(see http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2010-04-20.374.0&s=endesa#g385.7 )
In the Kerryman of august 11th
2010, the head of Corporate Affairs at Bord Gáis, kathleen O'Sullivan,
stated that while "the ideal scenario would be a single pipeline" she admitted that "Shannon LNG aren't ready to commit to a timeframe",
raising hopes among the local population and fuelling growing rumours
locally that the Shannon LNG terminal might never be built at
Note to Editors:
Attached below are copies of the An Bord Pleanála letter to
Endesa dated 13th August 2010, and the Kerryman article of August 11th