Dáil Éireann - Volume 460 - 31 January, 1996

Written Answers - Power Station Expansion.

58. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if he is considering an application from the ESB for approval to proceed with the construction of additional capacity at Poolbeg gas-fired power station; if he will give details of this proposed expansion of the ESB's generating capacity; the way in which the granting of approval for such expansion would affect the introduction of competition in the generation of electricity in line with European Union Internal Market Competition requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2045/96]

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications (Mr. Lowry): I have indicated to the ESB that I will approve the construction of phases 2 and 3 of the proposed new Poolbeg generating station once agreement has been reached on the cost and competitiveness review and once I am satisfied that the proposed construction and operating costs are satisfactory.

The granting of an approval for the expansion of the Poolbeg Station would not be contrary to any existing EU competition legislation. However, the Council of Ministers is currently discussing a draft electricity liberalisation directive which will require that the provision of all new and replacement generation [1922] capacity be on the basis of an open competitive process. While for practical reasons it is not possible to have such a process for the completion of the Poolbeg project, it is the Government's intention that the building, ownership and operation of all other new and replacement capacity, including the proposed new 120MW Peat Generating Station, will from now on be on the basis of a fully open competitive process.