Unfortunate Edenderry Planning Permission counter to urgent need for Decarbonisation.
The decision of An Bord Pleanála to extend the operating life of the Edenderry Peat and Biomass power plant to 2023 prejudices the current consultation on the National Mitigation Plan, which is going to need to recognise the need to start decarbonising our energy use immediately.
A previous decision granted by An Bord Pleanála was overturned by the High Court in 2015 on the grounds that the project did not comply with EU and National Environmental Impact Assessment law, because the effect of the continued peat extraction to fuel power the plant was not assessed.
The new An Bord Pleanála decision has failed to demonstrated how it assessed the environmental impact of the peat extraction area. The decision refers only to an Environmental Protection Agency licence held by Bord na Móna under the Integrated Pollution Licensing regime. However this licence applies to a limited range of impacts and does not cover address or mitigate the continued ecological and other impacts of peat extraction.
The continuation of peat extraction and burning for electricity Ireland is irreconcilable with achieving the emission reductions required under the Paris Agreement or for Ireland meet its EU 2020 and 2030 targets and take on its fair share in global climate action. The EPA have warned us many times that we are not likely to meet our binding 2020 targets. [Note 1]
The Edenderrry plant along with the two other ESB peat power stations in the Midlands have relied on a continuing subsidy the level of €100 million annually. Instead of prolonging an environmentally damaging and inefficient power source this subsidy would have been better invested in energy efficiency and renewables to ensure long term jobs for the Midlands.
We are already seeing the effects of climate change in many parts of the world and we need to start now to move away from Carbon based fuels. Burning peat produces more CO₂ than coal and has the secondary effect of digging up the most significant store of Green House Gasses in the Country.
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce. Tel: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
[Note 1] Little evidence of ‘decoupling’ as greenhouse gas emissions on the rise. “The EPA’s most recent greenhouse gas emission projections published in March this year, projected that Ireland would not meet its 2020 target, with emission reductions likely to be in the range of 6-11% below 2005 levels. The greenhouse gas emission increases for 2015 in this report, suggest that achieving reductions, even at the lower end of that range, will be difficult.” – Laura Burke, Director, EPA. Nov 10 2016. http://www.epa.ie/newsandevents/news/pressreleases2016/name,61471,en.html
About An Taisce
An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.