Plans for €150 million Limerick gas-fired  power station scrapped

Locals protesting over proposals for a gas generating plant in Ballyneety.

RESIDENTS who live beside a County Limerick site where an energy company was seeking permission to build a gas-fired generation station have welcomed news this week that the plan has been scrapped.

An application from Kilshane Energy Ltd for the construction of the €150 million plant near the village of Ballyneety has officially been withdrawn, a spokesman told the Limerick Post.

Locals formed an action group after becoming aware of the application by the Dublin-based company.

Kilshane Energy were seeking to build a gas-fired open cycle turbine power generation station in a disused quarry site in the rural townsland of Luddenmore/Inch St Lawrence.

Action Group spokesperson Suzanne Higgins told the Limerick Post that the development was “wholly unsuitable for this area, which is rural and surrounded on all sides by agricultural land, rural schools, and homes”.

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She said locals were very glad to learn that the application has been withdrawn.

“There was total opposition to it here. We had already mounted a protest campaign to fight it. We sincerely hope now that the project won’t remerge in some other guise here. That site is just not suitable for heavy industry.”

Locals say that if there were to be any kind of use developed on the site, it should be as a nature reserve as it has already largely reverted to its natural state having ceased being used as a quarry ten years ago.

One thing locals were insisting when the application was live was that a full environmental and ecological survey of the site should be completed prior to any application being considered.

Although powered by fossil fuels, gas-fired power generators emit fewer greenhouse gases than existing coal and other fossil fuel plants.

Limerick Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue claimed that the Government was attempting “to bring in emergency legislation to provide that an environmental impact assessment does not have to be done” on the previously planned site, which would operate as a backup electricity generation source when power supplies are under pressure.

“Is the Government opening the doors for a unit like this to be put anywhere in the country without such an assessment being done?’ he asked.

The site of the proposed gas generating plant in Ballyneety.