Gas pipeline proposed for Carrickfergus power plant

A new gas pipeline is to be constructed in Carrickfergus to supply Kilroot Power Station.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 9:00 am
Kilroot Power Station.

It will be situated underground between the power station and the Belfast Transmission Gas Pipeline.

The proposed three kilometre facility will provide a gas supply to a facility at the power plant at Kilroot ahead of its anticipated switch from coal to gas.

The new owners of Kilroot Power Station, EPUK Investments (EPUKI), recently announced plans for a £600m project at the site outside Carrickfergus.

The plans, which are at early concept stage, would “represent the largest ever single investment in electricity generation in Northern Ireland and could include a range of renewable energy technologies and electricity generation solutions”,  Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has said.

Representatives from EP KIlroot are to be invited to meet with the council’s Energy Group to discuss proposals.

If taken forward in its entirety, the council believes that the new Kilroot Energy Park would have the potential to generate up to 440MW of lower carbon and renewable energy, which is enough to power 500,000 homes.

During the past six months, the Energy Group and council chief executive Anne Donaghy have been working with the management at Kilroot to develop investment plans for the site.

The Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston, said: “Power generation is a key cornerstone of our borough’s economy with facilities at Kilroot and Ballylumford making a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s energy requirements.”

Commenting at a meeting of the local authority last week, Carrickfergus Alderman Billy Ashe, chair of the Energy Group, said that the proposals “demonstrate the power of lobbying from this council”.

“In January 2018, there was potential closure for Kilroot and to go from January ’18 until now and announce a £600m potential investment from new owners is nothing short of remarkable,” he stated.

“They are transitioning from coal to gas helping this council to reduce its carbon print, enhancing battery storage, talking about charging points for vehicles, biodiversity areas, potential data centre in the area and the really exciting bit, moving on to hydrogen energy.”

He went on to say he believes that bringing some of the plans to fruition could be “problematic” but added that they would be “great problems to have”.

Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Danny Donnelly said that this investment will “benefit all of Northern Ireland” and will “advance transition to a low carbon economy”.

“This is a key step that we need to make to help mitigate against climate change,” he added.

“We are in a climate emergency. We have to do something, so I am very happy to see this. This is a good news story, good for the environment and good for MEA to see the investment here.”

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Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.

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