Local power plant demolition plans are on hold
Offaly County Council has asked the ESB to submit a revised and comprehensive fire impact assessment, emergency response plan and fire safety assessment as part of an application for further information on the company’s plans to demolish the West Offaly power station in Shannonbridge.
Plans to demolish the plant and develop and operate a Battery Energy Storage (BESS) and Synchronous Condenser (Sync Con) have been put on hold following the request for additional information .
The council’s letter to the ESB states that it is widely accepted that firefighting the type of facilities proposed for Shannonbridge “is extremely problematic” due to the electrical power generated, and they asked the claimant to submit “a comprehensive firefighting action plan”. as part of their application.
The request for further information says the Council’s fire officer is “not satisfied” with the plans and details submitted in the Fire Impact Assessment (FIA) and describes the information as “substandard in a number of aspects, including a lack of detail in relation to the development of an “extinguishing system” designed to “contain and extinguish a fire and prevent its spread to adjacent areas”.
The applicant was asked to address 13 specific questions, including a request to “define the gases emitted” during a fire from the proposed batteries; a risk analysis for the design, operation and maintenance of the plant “including fires and explosions”; and a submission of details on the management of “potentially explosive atmospheres”; a risk assessment and “risk mitigation and failure mode analysis studies”.
The local authority also expressed concerns about the “adequacy of the data used” to inform the conclusions of the results of the Natura Impact Statement (NIS) submitted and asked the ESB to confirm which bird studies and have been reviewed and undertaken and the dates of their completion.
In addition, the bid was also asked to submit a detailed biodiversity management plan, and concerns were also raised about the impact on the wider local and regional road network “due to the transport of materials disposal and backfill” that the board letter indicates. “cannot be adequately assessed.”
In light of this, the applicant was asked to identify on a map “all potential material disposal locations and potential quarries and their associated transport routes to and from the proposed development”.
Offaly County Council has also asked the ESB to clarify whether ‘blasting’ or ‘charges’ will be used during the demolition phase of the proposed development.
The letter also notes that the proposed development is located within “the preferred road corridor” of the proposed Galway to Athlone cycleway project, and asked the applicant to provide “a revised layout plan” which identifies a potential area to facilitate the proposed greenway.
“The applicant must demonstrate on the site layout drawing that the proposed development will not restrict delivery of the cycleway project from Galway to Athlone,” the letter reads.
The applicant must also review all third party submissions that have been received and “respond/provide clarification” on the issues raised, including concerns raised regarding compliance with the Habitats Directive and potential impact on identified Natura sites.
The ESB has six months to submit any additional information requested by Offaly County Council.
The ESB formally lodged demolition plans for West Offaly Power Station in Shannonbridge with Offaly County Council on May 5 and sought approval for the development and operation of a storage system energy by battery (BESS) and a synchronous condenser (Sync Con).
The project, which will be carried out in two phases, would include the complete demolition of the old power station and all existing structures on the 35-hectare site down to ground level, including the iconic 80-meter high chimney. which has been a landmark on the local landscape for decades.
The second phase of the project is designed to develop what is described in the original planning application as “grid services” at the site of the restored power plant, which “will support the provision of low-carbon energy which will be produced throughout Ireland.