WEST Clare workers mustn’t be forced to carry an undue burden after Moneypoint Power Station lost a major contract and main source of income from October 2024, according to a local Dáil deputy.
Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne has urged the government to sit down the workers at Moneypoint, trade union representatives and local representatives to ensure that West Clare people are not forced to carry an undue burden as the state transitions to a sustainable energy environment.
The latest blow for Moneypoint comes about 12 months after about 100 workers lost their jobs as part of a restructuring plan.
In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, the ESB expressed its disappointment that the Moneypoint units did not prequalify for the T-4 auction for the period October 2024 to September 2025. This means that Moneypoint will have no capacity income, which is its primary source of income, from October 2024.
“This presents further viability challenges to the Moneypoint station which has been dealing with a number of economic challenges for the last number of years.
“In 2019, Moneypoint station was restructured, under a survival plan agreed with staff, to align its resources and cost structure with its expected future running pattern and revenue.”
In the context of fuel diversity, the ESB believes that Moneypoint can have a back-up role to play for Ireland in terms of system security.
Deputy Wynne called on the government to deliver on its commitment to provide Just Transition Fund investment to secure the future of Moneypoint Power Station.
“It is imperative that the government commits to transforming the site for modern and sustainable use and in doing so retaining employment in the region.
“The ESB is on record as saying that Moneypoint can have a role in the future of renewable energy, but it is clear that it will need state support to do so.
“A Just Transition deal must be put in place for the workers at the plant and for West Clare in general. We cannot allow our regions to fade due to inaction and a lack of political will,” she said.
The loss of this contract was described as a “massive blow” for Clare by Deputy Cathal Crowe, who has pledged to raise this issue with the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin.
“This development will undoubtedly add to the stress felt by contractors and their families.
“It now looks almost certain that Moneypoint will not be generating electricity from the autumn of 2024 onwards. This means that the ESB, working in partnership with the government, must urgently strategise for Moneypoint’s future.
“I have long believed that Moneypoint is ideally positioned to be an onshore processing point for off-shore generated electricity.
“The 400kv powerlines that run from Moneypoint to the rest of Ireland have a colossal capacity to channel electricity into the national grid and plans to install a submarinal cable the Shannon Estuary within the next two years will also accentuate this,” he said.