The ESB has stated that power from its proposed temporary emergency 210MW power station at North Wall in Dublin won’t go online until the final quarter of next year.
Last week, An Bord Pleanála approved the scheme to be located at the ESB’s existing North Wall generating station on the southern side of Alexandra Road within Dublin Port, against the background of growing fears over the State’s energy supply.
Documents lodged with the planning application warned that “it is possible that power outages could occur in the absence of the proposed development unless emergency generation is provided at some other location due to the forecasted system demand”.
The emergency power plant is designed to start quickly and will run when electricity demand is high and generation capacity from other sources available on the system is at risk of not meeting demand.
The approval followed Eirgrid seeking candidates in 2021 to provide up to 200MW of emergency generation to the transmission network by a target date of the third quarter of 2022, on a generating site in the Greater Dublin Area.
However, the fourth quarter 2023 target date by the ESB represents more than a one-year delay on the initial target date set down by Eirgrid.
The initial target date was impacted by a rival to the ESB, EP UK Investments in summer 2021 challenging in the High Court Eirgrid’s procurement process that led to the award of the emergency power supply contract to the ESB.
The court challenge resulted in Eirgrid not being able to formally notify the ESB until April of this year that it was the preferred bidder.
A spokeswoman for the ESB said on Monday that “it is expected the process to finalise contracts will conclude in the next few weeks”.
“The timing of the decision by An Bord Pleanála is consistent with the original proposal, which subject to ministerial consent on planning and final agreement of contracts, is expected to see circa 200MW of electricity generation operational on the North Wall site in Q4 2023,” she said.
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD (Green) only lodged the plans on June 28th under emergency provisions contained in the Planning and Development Act and the appeals board granted approval two and a half months ahead of its scheduled decision on December 1st.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s decision.
The spokeswoman agreed with the ESB timetable stating that “the first tranche of temporary generation in North Wall is expected to be operational for next winter 2023/24″.