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Fingal residents and climate campaigners welcome Kilshane Gas Plant rejection

18 Feb 2022

Fingal County Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the €150 million gas plant at Kilshane welcomed by Fingal residents and local and national climate groups

Friends of the Earth Ireland and the Fingal One Future climate campaign group have welcomed the news that Fingal County Council has rejected Kilshane Energy’s planning application for a €150 million 293 megawatt new gas plant in North Dublin [1]. Over 850 people signed an objection letter nationally, with Fingal One Future’s own objection receiving scores of signatures in a matter of hours from concerned Fingal residents.

Commenting on the news, Meredith Deegan of Fingal One Future, a local climate campaign group said:

"Fingal County Council's decision not to allow a new fossil fuel plant to go ahead shows its commitment to sustainable development. Fingal One Future welcomes the Council's dedication to the citizens and the natural environment of Fingal.”

Sarah Zimmerman, also of Fingal One Future, added:

"Community led energy projects must be central to our fossil fuel free future."

Both Friends of the Earth and Fingal One Future had raised concerns about polluting emissions from the plant in a densely populated suburb and the lack of information on the adverse effects of these long-term emissions [2]. While developers Kilshane Energy stated the plant was proposed to support electricity security, the insecurity caused by projected huge increases in data centre demand has been largely ignored by Government. Fingal is home to one of the largest data centres in the country. Run by Amazon, when at full capacity the data centre in Mulhuddart is forecast to use over 4% of our country’s total energy supply [3]. Kilshane is one of 8 possible new gas plants proposed despite the Government commitments to phase out fossil fuels at COP 26 4]. With fuel poverty on the rise and private companies heavily profiting from rising gas and oil prices, Friends of the Earth believes locking-in fossil fuel infrastructure without regard to our climate commitments is a dangerous move that has yet to be properly assessed by Government.

Commenting on this, Rosi Leonard, Network Support Coordinator with Friends of the Earth, who has been working with One Future Fingal, said:

We need to have a serious conversation about energy use in Ireland - what it’s prioritised for and who gets to use it. At the moment many ordinary people are struggling to pay hugely inflated energy bills for heating homes and keeping lights on, while data centres to power big corporations are guzzling up vast amounts of electricity.

To prevent complete climate breakdown we need to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels like gas to a renewable powered energy system. But we won’t be able to do that quickly enough if we don’t address the scale of our energy demand, and the type of economic system that necessitates it. The fact that the state is supporting more private fossil fuel projects at a time when we should be moving away from fossil fuels demonstrates that. We can and should be doing a lot better - as a wealthy country Ireland has a responsibility to lead the transition away from fossil fuels. It’s time for more imaginative thinking - to look at ways of prioritizing energy use that centres human well being and meets everyone’s basic needs while making sure we don’t lock ourselves into many more years of fossil fuel use.”

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy Change at Friends of the Earth said:

The rejection of the application for the gas-fired generation station in Fingal highlights the important role of planning authorities in keeping fossil fuels in the ground and keeping developers honest. Fingal County Council were clear that developers cannot disregard environmental impacts. They emphasised that information provided by the developers on adverse environmental impacts was entirely insufficient and therefore contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. We expect other councils to follow suit and recognise the dangers associated with fossil gas."

Pat O’Gorman of Fingal One Future added:

"Michael Martin has said that'part of our vulnerability...is our dependence on imported fossil fuel. Our way out of that dependence is the development of offshore wind and particularly floating technologies, green hydrogen and greater storage capacity...Right now Ireland consumes electricity which is up to 43 per cent generated by renewables. Our target to 2030 is to get to 80 per cent' So why 8 new gas powered stations? Following objections by local and national groups, including Fingal One Future, we welcome Fingal County Council's decision to reject an application for a gas powered plant in North Dublin."

ENDS

Notes

  1. Fingal County Council rejected the application on the grounds it did not contain enough information about the proposed development. The application had previously been rejected for fast tracked planning permission by An Bord Pleanala on the grounds that it did not qualify as Strategic Infrastructure. In its rejection letter, the Council stated: “Having regard to the limited nature of information submitted with the planning application, the Planning Authority is not satisfied that the proposed development would not give rise to adverse impacts on the green infrastructure, biodiversity, ecology, archaeology, landscape character and the visual amenities of the area.”
  1. Friends of the Earth’s objection to planning permission for the Kilshane Plant can be viewed here: https://www.foe.ie/assets/files/pdf/20220127_friends_of_the_earth_-_fingal_-_fw21a-0250_kilshane.pdf
  2. For more on the Mulhuddart data centre see here: https://www.thejournal.ie/amazon-data-centre-dublin-mulhuddart-3-3805691-Jan2018/
  3. Ireland joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance at COP26 - for more on this see here: https://www.thejournal.ie/amazon-data-centre-dublin-mulhuddart-3-3805691-Jan2018/

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