Approval given for biogas plant in Laois to be developed by Bord na Móna

Planning permission has been granted for Bord na Móna Powergen Ltd to develop a biogas plant in Co. Laois.

Conditional approval has been given for the renewable gas facility, along with associated works, to be developed at Cúil na Móna bog, in the townland of Clonboyne and Clonkeen, Portlaoise.

The total area of the development will be 18ha. According to Bord na Móna, the facility is envisaged to treat up to 80,000t of organic material per year.

The renewable gas facility will use anaerobic digestion (AD) to convert the organic material into biogas.

Bord na Móna said that this development will have the capacity to produce “enough renewable biogas to supply up to 5,500 homes per annum”.

A planning application for the development was submitted to Laois County Council in September 2019.

Biogas is a renewable, carbon-neutral gas generated from biological processes. The biogas is extracted from organic material such as food waste, animal slurries, biodegradable material and purpose-grown crops and can be harnessed for heat, electricity and transport.

Bord na Móna said the biogas produced would be upgraded to produce a purer biomethane, equivalent to natural gas, which can be injected into the national gas grid.

‘Absolutely devastating news’

A group of locals who are opposed to the development, called ‘Portlaoise Action against Bog Superdump’, said the news of planning permission being granted is “absolutely devastating”.

“Laois County Council has let down the people of Portlaoise, Ballyfin and surrounding areas by granting planning permission for this monstrosity,” the group said.

The group plans to submit an appeal to An Bórd Pleanála.

Renewed bid for controversial biogas plant in Co. Galway

Meanwhile, in Co. Galway, another attempt to establish a controversial biogas plant near Gort is underway.

Last year, Galway County Council refused to grant planning permission to Sustainable Bio-Energy Ltd for the plant in the townlands of Ballynamantan, Kinincha and Glenbrack.

The company attempted to appeal that refusal to An Bord Pleanála; however, the higher planning authority deemed the appeal invalid stating that it was received outside the appropriate timeframe.