East Antrim suppliers ‘vital to discussions on energy strategy for Northern Ireland’

Kilroot Power Station
Kilroot Power Station

The future of East Antrim’s power stations is to be raised with the Utility Regulator later this month.

Plans for the discussions were revealed as Mid and East Antrim Borough Council called for local energy suppliers to be placed at the heart of a long-term energy strategy for Northern Ireland.

Ballylumford Power Station.

Ballylumford Power Station.

Last November council welcomed approval of a 12-month operating contract to Kilroot Power Station, which guaranteed at least another year of energy production on the Carrick site.

Council members and officers say have been working with AES around the future of Kilroot and Ballylumford stations following an announcement last year that they had failed to secure a supply contract for the province’s energy market.

Cllr Billy Ashe MBE, a member of the council’s group on energy provision and supply, said: “Council continues to discuss the future options with head of Energy Strategy Division in the Department for the Economy, Joe Reynolds, and it is crucial our existing businesses are at the heart of the consultation on an updated energy strategy for Northern Ireland over the coming years.

“We will also be meeting again with Jenny Pyper, the Utility Regulator, later this month to discuss the future of AES. The prospect of Kilroot Power Station winding down and reduction at the Ballylumford site was a bitter blow for the many workers and families affected, as well as all of the citizens of Mid and East Antrim and Northern Ireland.

“Since that announcement, we have continued to work closely with AES, the Utility Regulator and the Department for the Economy to explore any and all opportunities and to find a sustainable solution for our local area and Northern Ireland.”

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) recently published its provisional results of the capacity auction for the electricity market. Of the 28 Northern Ireland generators who offered into the auction, 26 were successful. Seventy-eight million pounds in capacity payments will be paid to these generators during the period October 2019 and September 2020.

SONI said it was confident that the generators who had been successful in the capacity auction will provide safe and secure generation at the lowest possible cost.

The auction was designed by the electricity regulators in Northern Ireland and the Republic to ensure sufficient supply is secured to meet demand across the island at all times.