The Bord na Móna Powergen business manages and operates a portfolio of thermal and renewable assets consisting of the Edenderry peat/biomass generating unit, the Cushaling peaking plant, the Bellacorick, Mountlucas and Bruckana wind farms, and the Drehid landfill gas facility. The most recent additions to the portfolio have been the Mountlucas and Bruckana wind farms. These have made a significant contribution to our renewable portfolio with greater than 50% of our electricity generated now classified as carbon neutral.
Powergen’s strategy is focussed on sustainable business growth through the phased development of a diversified portfolio of generating assets. This will be achieved by leveraging Bord na Móna’s land assets, project development skills and operation and maintenance capabilities. Powergen will be a leading low carbon electricity generator, with a suite of resources including wind, biomass, biogas and other renewable technologies supported by flexible thermal plant.
Powergen’s major operational challenge is the optimization of the existing generation asset base, in a changing market and an evolving regulatory environment, so as to preserve the useful asset life while maximising output and economic returns.
As a result of Powergen’s development agenda there are residual requirements to complete the installation of additional fuel handling equipment at Edenderry Power Limited (EPL) in order to increase the biomass co-firing rate; together with our partner ESB conclude and obtain a successful outcome of planning consent application for the Oweninny wind farm and negotiate the best possible contracts for the supply of civil works, turbines and the electrical balance of plant for the completion of this wind farm.
Having achieved its previous targets, the business is now tasked with achieving a considerably higher level of energy efficiency savings as part of Bord na Móna's obligation under the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme, while also striving to achieve the Government target of a 33% energy intensity reduction for all public bodies by 2020.
Having completed annual outage, the Edenderry station has seen exceptional availability with fuel quality being a major contributory factor as a result of the excellent peat harvest in 2014. Biomass co-firing for the financial year increased to 27%.The Edenderry station exhibited impressive reliability, with a forced outage rate of only 0.84% during FY15. The 116 MW Cushaling Power peaking plant had an annual availability of 99.9%, and the Bellacorick wind farm continued to perform well.
The Mountlucas and Bruckana wind farms have performed in line with expectations and have been successfully integrated into Powergen’s Operations and Maintenance activities.
Oweninny Power Ltd., the Bord na Móna/ESB joint venture which is developing the first 172 MW of a large-scale wind farm at Oweninny, Co. Mayo, progressed through the planning process and awaits planning decision in the later part of the calendar year 2015. Eirgrid confirmed that the existing 110 kV infrastructure can accommodate an initial circa 90 MW of the project on a firm connection basis.
Powergen's Energy Services team met the 2014 compliance requirements relating to the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme. Reduced grant funding for Commercial and Industrial projects has made the achievement of savings in this sector extremely challenging.
Powergen remains fully committed to reducing the carbon intensity of the electricity generated from its portfolio in order to meet both national climate change obligations and also the renewable targets set under the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP).
Powergen is committed to the joint development of the first phase of the Oweninny wind farm with the ESB and the procurement process for the project is well underway. Powergen is progressing a joint venture proposal with Coillte.
Powergen will continue to assess the suitability of Bord na Móna’s cutaway peatland assets for the development of wind farms which can contribute to an expanding portfolio of renewable assets and the achievement of both National and European targets. Additionally work is progressing with a view to developing a solar demonstration project co-located with one of the existing windfarms. In addition Powergen will monitor and assess the requirement for additional thermal assets which can contribute to system flexibility and security as the proportion of intermittent renewable generation on the Irish electricity system increases.