The ESB has decided on an early closure to its plants West Offaly Power and Lough Ree Power.
Planning permission to convert from peat to biomass in West Offaly was rejected and, after consideration of the issues associated with peat and biomas, the station was no longer considered viable.
There will be no more electricity produced from either stations from December 2020.
“Given our long history of power generation in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro, this is a matter of significant regret,” said a spokesperson for the ESB. The company thanked its staff, communities and Bord na Móna for their collaboration and support over the years.
The ESB will now begin the process of engaging with staff and stakeholders to prepare for an orderly closure of the stations.
The remaining plant in Edenderry, Co Offaly, owned by Bord na Móna, has planning permission until 2023 to co-fire peat with biomass.
The accelerated exit from peat will mean that at least 1.25 million tonnes of carbon will be saved each year and emissions will reduce by up to 9 million tonnes up to 2027.
“Getting out of peat early will have a significant impact on our emissions. We must manage this is in a way that ensures the midlands is supported through the transition,” said Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on jobs, enterprise and innovation Robert Troy has said the closure of the power stations, with a combined 80 job losses, will have much wider implications for the entire Bord na Móna network of 1,400 employees throughout the region.
“Earlier this year, 400 people lost their jobs and the uncertainty facing the rest of the employees must be excruciating. Five-hundred job losses in one year in rural Ireland is akin to 5,000 job losses in Dublin city centre – it’s devastating,” he said.
The EU has allocated a €6m fund to support the region through the transition and the ESB have added another €5m.
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