Kilroot power station in Northern Ireland is facing closure. The 660 MW plant failed to win a contract in an auction process to supply the all-island Single Electricity Market (SEM). The owner, AES UK & Ireland, said that the auction sent a “strong signal for AES to exit the market”. It added that Kilroot, a dual fuel coal- and oil-fired power station, or the gas-fired Ballylumford generation unit can “cover fixed costs” without new generation contracts.
The company said that the place could close by May this year.
Ian Luney, President of AES UK & Ireland, said: “With the likely absence of any significant and reliable new generation in the next four years, and a North-South interconnector that isn’t expected to come online until 2021, we are concerned that the removal of capacity at Kilroot and Ballylumford could contribute to a significant risk to the security and stability of supply in Northern Ireland. He said: “We remain open to further engagement to continue to contribute to secure energy certainty for Northern Ireland in the near- to medium-term.”
Reforms to the SEM are to take effect later this year, with a series of new one-year contracts intended to increase competition and lower prices. Kilroot is one of Northern Ireland’s main power plants, and uses relatively old and inefficient generation. It was probable that it would have been difficult to get the plant upgraded sufficiently to meet environmental standards by 2024.