Huntstown emergency power plant to be ready within weeks

Contract to build temporary generator boosts Energia subsidiary profits

A second emergency power plant needed to plug gaps in Irish electricity supplies will be ready within coming weeks, it has emerged.

The Government contracted independent energy group Energia to build a temporary electricity generator at its base in Huntstown, Co Dublin, late in 2022.

Energia confirmed on Tuesday that the plant was undergoing final commissioning and would be handed over to national grid operator, EirGrid, “in the coming weeks”.

The 50 mega watt (MW) electricity plant was one of several for which Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, and his department, sought emergency planning permission in 2022.


The facilities will supply power to the State’s straitened electricity system when demand is high.

Rapidly increasing electricity use combined with the closure of old power plants and a failure to build new generators will continue to squeeze Irish energy supplies until 2032, according to EirGrid.

Plans to build emergency power plants, including the Huntstown facility, are part of a response to the problem ordered by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities.

The first such plant, at North Wall in Dublin, is already supplying electricity. Other emergency generators in counties Offaly and Kerry will follow Huntstown on to the grid this year.

Payments for building the plant boosted profits at Energia subsidiary, Huntstown Power Company Ltd, last year, according to new accounts.

The company, which operates Huntstown 1, a 340MW gas-fired electricity plant, boosted operating profits to €78.7 million in the 12 months to March 31st, 2023, from €47.7 million the previous year, the figures show.

The increase reflected “development milestone payments received for the emergency generation project”, as well as higher margins linked to higher commodity prices and outages of rival generators.

The accounts confirm that the company got the emergency power contract in December 2022. Government sought permission to build the plant the previous summer as it was becoming increasingly clear that Irish electricity supplies were under pressure.

Accounts for Energia Power Generation Ltd, which operates a second plant at Huntstown capable of generating 400MW of electricity, show that it increased profits to €93 million in the 12 months to last March from €36.2 million the previous year.

This largely reflected the fact that the power plant was out of action during part of the previous 12 months, so could not earn revenues or profits during that time.

Energia Customers Solutions Ltd, which supplies electricity and gas to homes and businesses in the Republic, lost €130.8 million during the same 12-month period.

Energia said that this was because it did not fully pass on the unprecedented wholesale electricity price increases to customers.

“The group’s integrated structure enabled us to provide an important level of protection to customers from the extremely high prices, due in part to the revenues received by our flexible generation and renewable assets in the wholesale market,” said the company.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas