Moneypoint and Tarbert to operate “for many years to come” – Tánaiste

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar today has informed Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara that Moneypoint and Tarbert power stations may continue to operate “for many years to come” due to concerns over Ireland’s energy security.

The Government had previously announced that Moneypoint would close in 2025 while Tarbert would be required to close by the end of 2023 in line with EU emissions regulations. However, the Tánaiste said the power plants will not be decommissioned until the Government is confident that they can be replaced with secure supply and secure renewables.

During Leader’s Questions, Deputy Michael McNamara asked why the Government was pursuing a policy of closing power stations during an energy crisis.

“I agree with your vision of bringing offshore energy on to our western shores and storing in the form of hydrogen. But the technology to do that is not there now,” Deputy McNamara told Leo Varadkar.

He continued, “I greatly look forward to when Moneypoint is not burning coal and vast amounts of wind energy are being turned into hydrogen and stored there. But that is all down the road. Are we going to decommission the biggest power station in the country (Moneypoint) before we have an alternative because that is what your government is currently planning?”

The Tánaiste responded, “It is not our intention to close Moneypoint or Tarbert until we are ready to do so. I don’t like the fact that we are burning coal in Moneypoint. I don’t like the fact we are burning oil in Tarbert, but we do actually need to do so, and we may need to do so for many years to come. Those plants will not be decommissioned until we are confident that we are able to replace them with secure supply and secure renewables and that might take a bit of time. “

In recent weeks, Deputy McNamara has expressed his concern in the Dáil that Ireland’s energy security is being exacerbated by the closure of the country’s power stations and increasing reliance on imported energy.

Speaking following Leader’s Questions today, the Clare TD said, “I welcome the Government’s confirmation that it will maintain operations at Moneypoint and Tarbert for the foreseeable future until alternative energy sources are put in place. While I look forward to that day, and the decarbonisation of our energy supply, that will not take place within the next three years.”