Mid and East Antrim’s future as key energy supplier secured following auction

The securing of significant energy contracts at Kilroot and Ballylumford has been hailed as crucial to Mid and East Antrim’s future economic growth plans.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 7:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 1:41 pm
Kilroot Power Station.

The results of the latest T-4 capacity auction for the Single Electricity Market were published yesterday.

It was confirmed the EPUKI firm has been awarded contracts for existing energy units at Ballylumford and further units at Kilroot power station, both based in Mid and East Antrim.

In addition, Kilroot has been successful in securing a ten-year contract for new gas generation intended to replace existing coal units.

A spokesperson for EPUKI commented: “We are delighted that all units have been successful in the most recent T-4 auction meaning that new, flexible, low-carbon gas generation can be developed on the Kilroot site.

“This will ensure the transition towards low carbon generation as well as protecting security and stability of supply for Northern Ireland through the continuation of indigenous generation.”

Responding to the announcement, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, who continues to work closely with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council around energy provision, said: “It is good news that Ballylumford and Kilroot have secured a place in the energy market for the future.

“We have always had concerns about energy dependence from outside of Northern Ireland. Winning this capacity auction ensures not only that production facilities at Kilroot will be secured, but more importantly, this puts the area in a position to deliver new generation in the future.”

The news was also welcomed by Roy Beggs MLA, Ulster Unionist Infrastructure spokesperson. “In 2018, I had expressed concern at the loss of contracts that could have led to the end of electricity generation from Kilroot’s coal fired steam turbines and the associated risks of electricity blackout in Northern Ireland," he said.

“Thankfully contracts were subsequently awarded to extend coal generation and employment until 2023, and now EP Kilroot have been successful in their bid to develop alternative generation which will complement the increased use of renewable energy.

“The new large scale peaking units have been deemed best to meet the market needs. This will ensure electricity generation from the EP Kilroot site for the foreseeable future.”

Alderman Billy Ashe MBE, Chair of Council’s Energy Committee commended EPUKI and all those behind the successful bid. "A secure energy supply is absolutely critical to our ability to attract investment in Mid and East Antrim and Northern Ireland," he added.

“The contracts secured in this T-4 auction will enable new clean, flexible and indigenous generation capacity to be built to replace the coal units. The success in this auction provides a solid platform for further growth at Kilroot and Ballylumford.”

Anne Donaghy, Council Chief Executive and Manufacturing Taskforce lead, said: “This is very welcome news for Mid and East Antrim, and Northern Ireland.

“It is so important to our borough’s economy that we remain key energy creators for the region, and the outcome of this capacity auction is very positive for our economic growth plans, post Covid-19.

“We are excited by the plans for new technology to provide clean energy, and it has been a privilege for the Manufacturing Taskforce to work alongside the company, under the direction of our Chair, Graham Whitehurst.

“I commend the firm and our elected members, who have worked so hard to ensure that Carrickfergus remains crucial to Northern Ireland’s energy sector.”

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