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Planning objection in Killala

Mayo Power Ltd object to planning permission for ESB generators

Claire Egan and Michael Duffy

A company who are planning to build a €140 million power station on the former Asahi Plant site in Killala have lodged an objection with An Bord Pleanála after Mayo County Council granted permission to the ESB for two electricity generation units at Tawnaghmore Lower in Killala.
Mayo Power Ltd had already raised objections to the proposed ESB development with the County Council, but their concerns were overlooked and the Council granted permission for the development on December 19. An Bord Pleanála will now decided on the matter and it is expected that it will be at least three months before they make a decision.
The move by Mayo Power Ltd comes as their board of directors continue talks with local government bodies over the proposed €140 million power station for the former Asahi plant site.
The company, which is backed by a conglomerate of American, English and Irish investors, wants to build a power station on the Killala site which has ready access to a sub-station that feeds an existing electricity transmission line.
It is hoped that the proposed power station will provide a solution to the persistent electricity problems which have blighted the northwest region. It is also expected that over 250 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the power plant.
To date, no official approval has been granted to Mayo Power Limited for the proposed project, but, according to one leading director, Mr Martin Pickard, there has been an extremely favourable response to the proposals.
“Talks were held with the Energy Regulator over three months ago and they were extremely amenable to our proposal. At present we are about to submit an application to Mayo County Council for planning permission and if we are granted permission we hope to commence construction on the plant at the end of this year,” said Mr Pickard.
The leading directors of Mayo Power Limited, including US investor Gerald C Crotty, were in Mayo last week to hold further discussions with Mayo County Council, local enterprise bodies and a residents’ representative group.
While Mr Pickard was unable to provide a definite time scale for the proposed building, outlining that a rigourous planning process would have to be undertaken first, he estimated that if planning permission was granted construction would commence at the end of this year, with the combined heat and power plant fully operational by 2010.
According to Mr Pickard, the plant will utilise wood from the north west region, thinnings from forestry, local peat supplies and a small amount of coal.
The plant will place a heavy emphasis on bio mass, which are organic materials that can be burned to produce energy or can be converted to gas. Furthermore, the power station will assist Ireland in meetings its targets for primary energy created by alternative sources.
The directors of Mayo Power Limited have indicated that nothing will be done behind the backs of local people. They said it was company policy to keep local communities informed of their planned acivities.