Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (66, 67)

Denis Naughten

Question:

66. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the discussions he has had with stakeholders regarding the future use of the west Offaly power station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2970/21]

View answer

Denis Naughten

Question:

67. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the discussions he has had with stakeholders regarding the future use of Lough Ree power station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2971/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 67 together.

The first progress report of the Just Transition Commissioner, Mr Kieran Mulvey, published on 22 May, reflects a comprehensive engagement with relevant stakeholders in the Midlands, setting out the analysis of the challenges facing the region, and for Bord na Móna workers, their families and communities, arising from an accelerated exit from peat harvesting. The report contains a range of important recommendations several of which have already been acted on by the Government. I intend to shortly publish an implementation plan to address the remainder.

The recommendation of the Commissioner that a study be undertaken in relation to the future potential of the ESB power stations at both Lanesborough (Lough Ree Power) and Shannonbridge (West Offaly Power) for the establishment of a dedicated Energy Hub in the Midlands was subsequently included as a commitment in the Programme for Government.

A feasibility study into the establishment of a Green Energy Hub using the existing infrastructure at the West Offaly and Lough Ree sites has been underway over the last number of months. This is being overseen by a steering group chaired by the ESB, and includes representatives of my Department, relevant Local Authorities, and other stakeholders. I expect that the work of the group will conclude early this year, having regard to the timelines required to meet the company’s planning permission obligations in relation to both sites.