Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD, has officially launched the Bord Gáis Whitegate Power Plant project at its site in Co. Cork.
Construction of the €400m power plant is now underway and the plant is expected to be operational by June 2010. The 445MW output of the plant would power around half a million homes.
Speaking at the event, John Mullins, Chief Executive of Bord Gáis, said - “The Whitegate power plant project is a very significant development for Bord Gáis. It represents our first major investment in the Irish power generation sector, supporting our strategy in the retail electricity market and providing much needed power to meet growing national demand. Bord Gáis currently serves over 11,000 businesses with electricity and we plan to enter the residential electricity market in the near future, offering real choice and value to households across the country.”
The Bord Gáis Whitegate power plant is a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant, which is designed to operate on natural gas as the primary fuel. Located adjacent to the existing ConocoPhillips refinery, the plant is being constructed by a consortium of General Electric and GAMA Power Systems (GE-Gama). Between both companies, there is a wealth of international experience in constructing power generating plants. GE-Gama awarded the Civil Works contract to John Sisk & Sons and several local companies have been sub-contracted for works on the site. The project will employ over 600 people at peak construction.
Minister Martin said - “Cork Harbour - and, in particular, Whitegate - have traditionally provided very important energy facilities which have helped meet our national needs and provided vital local investment and jobs. I’m pleased to see a further €400m being invested in the area by Bord Gáis in constructing a modern, efficient power plant that will not only enhance the security of electricity supplies for the country, but also marks a significant new entrant in the power generation market in Ireland.”
Bord Gáis Networks is nearing completion of the 12km underground pipeline to supply natural gas to the Whitegate plant from the national network. Eirgrid is currently preparing to connect the Whitegate plant to the national electricity grid via underground cables. This work will significantly strengthen the electricity grid system in the east Cork area.
John Mullins of Bord Gáis added - “Bord Gáis greatly appreciates the co-operation and support it has received from Cork County Council, the Gardaí, our industrial neighbours and the local community, as we work to minimise disruption during the construction of the power plant.”