Bord na Móna commits to retaining rail supply jobs at Edenderry

Bord na Móna will retain the roughly 100 jobs on its rail supply network at Edenderry power station in Co. Offaly, which will be increasingly used to carry biomass, according to one of its senior officials.

Tom Egan, the head of bioenergy and power generation for Bord na Móna, was speaking at the IrBEA (Irish Bioenergy Association) National Bioenergy Conference today, Wednesday, February 26, where he outlined a number of “commitments” in relation to Edenderry Power.

Among these was maintaining the plant’s current rail network, which is currently used for carrying peat from surrounding bog.

We are going to optimise the existing rail network as the peat industry comes to a close in the next period of time.

“We want to utilise that existing rail network, which covers about 700km. We want to use the existing infrastructure we have, mobilise that, and continue to transport biomass into the plant,” Egan said.

“There’s about 100 people currently involved in transporting by rail for Edenderry Power. We want to maintain those rural jobs,” he added.

Egan also said that Bord na Móna would commit to have no further increase in truck movement around the plant, beyond what is permitted under the current planning.

Full utilisation of the rail supply network would itself contribute to a reduction in emissions, Egan pointed out.

“We want to reduce carbon emissions by transporting material by rail. The locomotive has an engine that’s about 160hp, and it can haul between 100-130t; versus a truck, with a 430hp engine, hauling a trailer with 27t to 28t of material. The efficiency of rail transport is widely known,” he said.

Another commitment, according to Egan, is the ‘Just Transition’.

He said: “Most importantly, we want to contribute to the Just Transition – the transition of rural jobs away from peat-based activity to biomass-based activity and the future bioenergy economy in Ireland.”

During today’s conference, Egan also pointed out that Edenderry will be 100% biomass-powered as soon as 2024.