Lough Ree plant to ‘recommence generation’

Lough Ree Power Station in Lanesboro, Co. Longford, will reopen and begin generating electricity over the course of the next week.

In a statement to AgriLand, the ESB explained that electricity generation will be carried out at “prudent levels” in order to meet obligations under an environmental licence.

“Based on the current conditions on the River Shannon, ESB is now in a position to return the Lough Ree power plant to service,” the statement said.

Over the next week the plant will gradually recommence generation at prudent levels to ensure compliance with our environmental licence obligations.

The decision to reopen the plant comes after a proposal last month from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would allow the peat-fired plant to reopen if it met certain criteria.

These criteria relate to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the plant.

Some of the proposed conditions include: controls on thermal discharge of cooling waters to the River Shannon, which the EPA states will “minimise impact on fish migration”; controls on emissions to air; and specific requirements on combustion efficiency in accordance with EU standards.

Under its licence review, the ESB also sought to increase the tonnage of ash permitted at its disposal facility – located 10km away at Derraghan, Co. Longford.

Before the decision was made to allow the plant to recommence generating power, the proposal was subject to an objection from environmental agency An Taisce.

The An Taisce objection had drawn the ire of a number of local TDs, who raised concerns over the 150 jobs at the plant, and the future of those workers.