A Clare TD has described as a ‘huge blow’ that the ESB’s Moneypoint Power Station in West Clare has lost out on a crucial electricity supply contract.
The ESB has confirmed its disappointment that the Moneypoint units did not prequalify for the T-4 auction for the period October 2024 to September 2025.
The capacity auction, run annually by EirGrid and its Northern Irish equivalent, is a key element of the all-island wholesale electricity market and is designed to deliver a reliable electricity supply at the least possible cost.
The auction also aims to encourage new and efficient power plants into market; but only if these are competitive and economical solutions. Moneypoint not qualifying will mean that it will have no capacity income, which is its primary source of income, from October 2024.
According to Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe: “This is a massive blow for our county. Moneypoint has been shrouded by uncertainty in recent years and this development will undoubtedly add to the stress felt by contractors and their families.
“For several years we have all know that Moneypoint will cease burning coal in 2025 but there is now clear plan for its future beyond that. With it now looking almost certain that Moneypoint will not be generating electricity from the autumn of 2024 onwards. This means that the ESB, working in partnership with the government, must urgently strategise for Moneypoint’s future.
“I have long believed that Moneypoint is ideally positioned to be an onshore processing point for off-shore generated electricity. The 400kv powerlines that run from Moneypoint to the rest of Ireland have a colossal capacity to channel electricity into the national grid and plans to install a submarinal cable the Shannon Estuary within the next 2 years will also accentuate this,” Mr Crowe added.
“One of the huge barriers to offshore wind farms and tidal generating hubs is that the Foreshore Act which governs the provision of such projects was formulated in 1933 and is now grossly outdated and not fit for purpose. This legislation is set to be overhauled in 2021.
I plan on urgently speaking to the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, and party colleagues who serve in government on the future of Moneypoint. With legislative changes planned and plenty of public money available for making changes in Ireland to meet our climate change targets, we should see Moneypoint as a national asset with huge future potential,” he added.