Coal is once again being used to generate power at the Moneypoint Power Station following the re-ignition of at least one of its furnaces over the weekend.
The Clare People understands that Unit 3 at the West Clare facility was restarted on Friday – following more than six months of being offline. Indeed, all three of Moneypoint’s coal-burning furnaces were offline throughout October, November and December with only electricity form the Moneypoint Wind Farms supplying the grid.
Unit 1 at Moneypoint, which has been out of commission since October 1 of 2018, is also expected to come back online this week. The Clare People also understands that Unit 2, which has been out of operation since September 26, is expected to be back available from early April.
The reason for the extended outages at Moneypoint is unclear but it could be part of an effort by the ESB to reduce the amount of carbon released and avoid possible fines from the EU. A spokesperson from the ESB declined to clarify why all three of the station’s coal-burning generators had been offline for extended periods. “ESB does not comment on operational matters of our generation plant, other than through the formal market disclosure channels,” said a spokesperson from the ESB.
When fully operational, Moneypoint is one of the most pollutant power-stations in Europe. The coal-burning portion of the station is expected to be decommissioned in 2025 when its current license expires. It is as yet unclear what will replace the coal burning facility at Moneypoint which at one point was the key power station in the national grid.
Over the last five years, a number of possible replacements to coal have been put forward for Moneypoint. These include transforming it into a biofuel station and a gas burning station – while there has also been a proposal to create a mini nuclear power station at the West Clare site.