Islandmagee power plant proposal ‘not green’: objector

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-07-706-con

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-07-706-con

A local campaigner has accused Gaelectric’s proposed CAES energy storage facility of Islandmagee of “masquerading as green technology.”

Chair of the Stop Gaelectric campaign group, Lisa Dobbie, described the proposed Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant as an “enhanced gas power station” in an objection letter to the planning service.

The £300m facility would entail the creation of underground salt caverns to store energy in the form of compressed air, which would then be released to generate electricity when demand is high.

The waste by-product, brine, would be pumped into the sea.

However, Lisa says she feels that the public are being misled over the project’s “green” credentials.

“A lot of people don’t realise we have to put power in to compress the air and gas in to warm the air that comes out, so it is a fossil fuel power station masquerading as a green power station,” she told the Times.

“It is a slightly more efficient gas power station using a lot of fossil fuel.

“This is also old technology; the first CAES facility was in Huntorf in Germany in 1978. There is already more environmentally friendly CAES technology available.”

Lisa also fears that siting another power plant in Islandmagee could compromise the Province’s power supply.

“A large proportion of Northern Ireland’s electricity would come from Islandmagee with Ballylumford, the Moyle Interconnector, the gas pipe and potentially the CAES power plant being situated in one place,” Lisa continued.

“What if there was a security threat or a natural disaster? This application is being pushed through to meet renewable energy targets.”

Lisa raised concerns that the noise generated by the CAES plant could be heard in Larne.

“The sound of compressed air being released is the same as that of air brakes on a lorry,” she continued.

“People focus on the impact on Islandmagee residents, but sound echoes and Larne residents can even hear the tannoy from the P&O ferry in Larne.”

Gaelectric declined to comment when contacted.