Regulator blocks Viridian’s closure of Dublin power plants

Regulators have blocked the proposed closure of two power plants in Dublin next May as the move could hit security of electricity supplies.

Electricity supplier Viridian said last month that it would have to close its two plants at Huntstown, Co Dublin with the loss of 40 jobs after one facility failed to secure contract for new payments from national grid operator Eirgrid new payments from national grid operator Eirgrid.

However, the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has refused to relax a requirement that Viridian give three years’ notice of plans to close power plants.

The rule applies to all electricity generators. Viridian asked the commission for a derogation from this, as it maintained that its power stations could not recover their costs from next May as a result of the Eirgrid decision.

A Viridian spokesman said that an Eirgrid assessment given to the CRU did not support its derogation request for the Huntstown power plants, because their closure would “almost immediately” make electricity supplies less secure and reliable.

He added that as the facilities could not recover their costs, “meaningful, substantive engagement with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the CRU and Eirgrid will be required to find a timely solution for the Huntstown plants”.

Standby payments

Eirgrid in the Republic and System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI), are cutting standby payments to generators by a total of €200 million in a reorganisation of the all-island energy market that begins in May.

They ran auctions last year to determine which plants would receive the payments. One of the two Huntstown plants was among a small number that failed to get a contract.

Viridian said that the move would force it to close both plants, which generate more than 700 megawatts of electricity between them, as they are closely integrated.

The Irish Times Business