asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the reasons which induced him to sanction the proposal of the Electricity Supply Board to construct a second coal-burning electric power station at the Pigeon House Road, Dublin, instead of constructing additional peat-burning stations.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Electric Power Station.
The construction of an additional coal-fired generating station had been approved in May, 1947. At that time, it was intended to locate the station in Cork. It was represented to me last year by the Electricity Supply Board that, in view of the decision to proceed with the development of the River Lee, it was necessary to reconsider the location of the steam plant already approved for Cork. After full consideration of both the technical and economic aspects of the matter as represented to me by the Electricity Supply Board I approved of the transfer of the station to Dublin.
The plant programme of the board to meet the rapidly increasing demand includes, in addition to the turf-fired generating station at Clonsast and Allenwood, the construction of further turf-fired stations in other areas which will be selected in consultation with Bord na Móna. I am satisfied that the station in Dublin will not interfere with the policy of the utilisation of turf for the generation of electricity where it can be economically undertaken.
Are we to take it from the Minister's reply the proposal to erect this coal-fired station implies that there are no further water or peat resources available for electricity or are there some technical reasons why we should revert to the use of coal?
It is not a question of reverting to coal but there are technical reasons for it. The question of weather could affect very largely both turf and hydro-stations. It is considered not only desirable but essential that we should have in the country stations where electricity can be generated other than by the use of either turf or water. The Electricity Supply Board have also in mind that the Pigeon House Station will probably come to the end of its usefulness by the time this new station comes into operation.
Is the Minister aware that on the Continent of Europe there are two large provinces in Germany depending altogether for electrical production on turf-fired stations? Further, is the Minister aware that in the City of Moscow, which is the largest industrial area in Russia, the whole of the industrial plant and the electrical development plant is run on turf? Further, is the Minister aware that even the American Government are now engaged in research into the development of the enormous turf production in Wisconsin; and, further, that the Minister for External Affairs was going to build a turf station in every bog in the country?
I am aware, though apparently the Deputy is not so aware, that on the Continent, at the moment, in some of the countries to which he now refers, owing to weather conditions, electricity is rationed and that in some countries there is no electrical current at all available on two days of the week. I am further aware that the Deputy described it yesterday as an outrage and a scandal that another coal-fired station should be built——
I would point out that that decision was taken by the Deputy and his Government in 1947.
It was not.