SSE Thermal exploring HVO and potential future hydrogen options for power stations

March 13, 2023 |

In Ireland, SSE Thermal is exploring options to develop two new low-carbon power stations in Ireland which would help to protect security of supply and provide flexible backup to renewable generation

Sites in Tarbert in County Kerry and at Platin in County Meath, could provide the location for these new power stations, which would initially run on sustainable biofuel with the potential to convert to hydrogen in the future.

Biofuel provides a lower carbon option for use in power stations, using waste feedstocks to produce valuable flexible electricity making it an important transitionary solution as plans for a greater use of hydrogen and carbon capture are developed. The proposed units will run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (or HVO), which is produced by processing waste oils to create a fossil-free alternative to diesel in accordance with EU sustainability standards.

Development at the two sites could provide up to 450MW of new generation capacity to the grid, with up to 300MW at Tarbert and 150MW at Platin. While in early development and still subject to a final investment decision, these new power stations could be operational as early as 2027, bringing with them the potential to underpin demand for low-carbon hydrogen in Ireland.

SSE’s existing Tarbert Power Station is required to close by the end of 2023 in line with its environmental licence. It was developed in stages between 1966 and 1977, as the final phases of Ireland’s Rural Electrification Programme were being implemented and demand for electricity was on the rise. It was the largest station on the system when it was fully commissioned. The site has a long history of power generation and local expertise, making it an ideal location for a new low-carbon plant, supporting a just transition away from high-carbon activities.

Meanwhile, Platin would help to address acute capacity constraints in the north Leinster region, with the same low-carbon technology.

These proposed stations are intended to participate in the Single Electricity Market’s upcoming Capacity Auction, which is a key tool to deliver the additional units needed to meet rising demand and replace ageing assets. Delivery of such flexible units is highlighted as a ‘national priority’ under Government’s 2021 Policy Statement on Security of Electricity Supply.

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Category: Fuels

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