Biomass conversion would enable Ireland to meet EU target

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A report on the Irish power sector says the conversion of a single coal-fired power plant to biomass in the west of the country would enable Ireland to be fully compliant with its obligations to the European Union renewable energy target.

Moneypoint in County Clare is a 915 MW coal-fired power plant and consultants Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown of BW Energy have found that a conversion to biomass, which could be accomplished for around €380 million, would mean Ireland meets its 40 per cent target for electricity from renewable resources.
Moneypoint power plant

The authors of the report, a review of energy needs for opponents of EirGrid's Grid25 electricity transmission scheme, also state that the conversion would avoid the need for a massive pylon upgrade project. Such a project would be just a tenth of the cost of new high voltage pylon routes around the country between now and 2025 and would add an additional 25 per cent of renewable energy onto the Irish power system.

On top of the 19.6pc green energy created in 2012 Ireland would meet its 40pc target for electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the report said.

However an ESB spokesperson has told Power Engineering International that there were no immediate plans for the plant's conversion.

"We examined the possibility of biomass co-firing at Moneypoint which would be dependent on technical and economics factors and the resilience of the biomass supply chain. While issues such as this are kept under review, ESB does not have any current plans to convert Moneypoint to biomass."

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