belfast power station

£300m gas power station approved for Belfast; renewables onside

Image credit: pa

A £300m gas-fired power plant is set to be built in Belfast that will generate 480 MW of electricity.

Officials at the Department for Infrastructure issued a notice of opinion to approve the project yesterday.

The station is the first large scale gas fired power plant to be developed in Northern Ireland for over 15 years and will produce enough power for more than 500,000 homes and businesses, according to the developers.

It will also be designed with flexible energy systems in mind to allow additional renewable energy produced from sources such as biomass, wind and solar onto its system at any given time.

Once complete the 13-acre site in Belfast Harbour Estate site will support around 35 permanent roles.

Belfast Power’s Director Ciaran Devine: “This is a critical time for Northern Ireland’s electricity industry, and the power station will play a central role in ensuring we have enough electricity to meet demand over the coming years.”

The developers were keen to emphasise the environmental credentials of the facility which is built using “cutting-edge” technology from Siemens Energy.

This will supposedly allow it to “meet and exceed” the highest environmental standards, “achieving lower CO2 emissions compared to more traditional forms of power generation”.

A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) today found that global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a record high last year as energy demand and coal use increased. Energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7 per cent to 33.1 billion tonnes from the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2013, with the power sector accounting for almost two-thirds of this growth, according to IEA estimates.

The United States’ CO2 emissions grew by 3.1 per cent in 2018, reversing a decline a year earlier, while China’s emissions rose by 2.5 per cent and India’s by 4.5 per cent. Europe’s emissions fell by 1.3 per cent and Japan’s fell for the fifth year running.

Global energy demand grew by 2.3 percent in 2018, nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a strong global economy and higher heating and cooling demand in some parts of the world, the IEA said.

“We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, growing at its fastest pace this decade,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. “Last year can also be considered another golden year for gas ... but despite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts.”

Global gas demand increased at its fastest rate since 2010, up 4.6 per cent from a year earlier, driven by higher demand as switching from gas to coal increased.

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