SPANISH ENERGY company Endesa has been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála to construct a natural gas power station on the site of the former ESB plant at Great Island, Co Wexford.
The ESB sold its Wexford power station along with plants in Tarbert, Co Kerry, Rhode in Offaly and Tawnaghmore in Mayo to Endesa for €450 million two years ago. The sale made the Spanish company Ireland’s second-biggest utility after the ESB.
Endesa announced it would spend a further €450 million upgrading the power stations. The new Great Island plant, which is due to be completed by 2012, will be the largest tranche of that investment to date.
The replacement of the old diesel-powered plant with a natural gas turbine plant will increase electricity generating capacity of the Great Island facility from 240 megawatts to 420 megawatts. The gas turbine is also a cleaner, more efficient technology and will cut CO2 emissions by 50 per cent,Endesa said.
Endesa could be a potential bidder for the ESB or Bord Gáis if the State companies were recommended for privatisation by the State Assets Review Group set up just over a week ago by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and chaired by economist Colm McCarthy.