PLANNING permission is being sought for a €150 million gas-fired power plant in County Limerick to operate as a backup electricity generation source when power supplies are under pressure.
Kilshane Energy has applied to Limerick City and County Council to build the 293 megawatt plant at Luddenmore, Ballyneety.
The Armagh-based company already has a planning application submitted for a plant with the same specifications at Fingal in Dublin.
Although powered by fossil fuels, gas-fired power generators emit fewer greenhouse gases than existing coal and other fossil fuel plants.
A spokesman for Kilshane Energy told the Irish Times that the plants would not be dedicated to the use of heating homes. They are described as peaking plants, and there are a number of them under discussion.
“These are plants that will be on standby and will kick in for a half an hour or an hour or two hours and will be on call as required when Eirgrid has a bottleneck in an area.
“Because renewable sources like wind and solar are weather dependent, their availability is intermittent. It is imperative therefore, to have a backup electricity generation source that is dependable, consistent, and immediately available.
“This is referred to as dispatchable power. By using open cycle gas turbine technology, which is capable of starting up at extremely short notice, the Kilshane facility will be able to respond, within minutes, to EirGrid requests for dispatchable peak power generation.
“The facility can address unexpected fluctuations in the power grid and reduce the risk of electricity blackouts. The flexibility it offers will allow more renewable generation to be deployed on to the national grid and also help to retire older, more carbon-intensive power plants,” the spokesman explained.