European coal plants to lose €6.6bn in 2019

March 19, 2020

In reference to an article in the FT from last October, it is really interesting to see the impact on the environment and the potential impact on the consumer for the continuation of using coal fired power stations. To quote Carbon Tracker, as quoted in the article written by Harry Dempsey @harrydemps : " “[Governments] will have to choose whether to: pass costs to the utilities and destroy shareholder value; pass costs to consumers and push bills up; or fund them from debt or taxes.” From an Irish perspective, Moneypoint is being phased out by 2025. Recent claims from Christian Aid suggest the ESB are purchasing coal from Carrejon in Colombia and that this practice should cease. An independent inquiry is being called for to assess the conditions the coal is being mined under. This inquiry is supported by the UN. ESB refute these claims and are using Bettercoal to provide its certification.

In line with the planned closure, some of the forecast job losses in and around Kilrush, are already at 50% with a reduced 'running rate'. Future roles for the site are suggested as a gas burning site but some are calling for it to be a hub for off shore wind.

As Ireland's largest electricity producing plant and also Ireland's largest emissions source, something needs to be done. Will this be before 2025? Is there scope for a combination of fuel resources to be used on this site? Biomass obviously has a natural role to play considering the volume of material available in the Clare region. Combining the already in existence material with an incentive to plant shorter rotation material for local farmers struggling to provide through beef or dairy farming.

There will be a significant change in the next few years in how we produce and use fuel for energy. This is being driven globally and it will be interesting to see how Ireland responds to this.