Mid and East Antrim Council has welcomed the approval of a 12-month operating contract which guarantees another year of energy production at Kilroot Power Station, Carrickfergus.
Council representatives have been working closely with operators AES around the future of Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Station, Larne, after an announcement in January they had failed to secure a supply contract for the Northern Ireland energy market.
A delegation from the local government authority also gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the regional implications of the proposed closures.
Today it was confirmed the Utility Regulator had approved a 12-month operating contract to Kilroot to continue supplying energy to the region’s network.
MEA Mayor, Cllr Lindsay Millar, said: “We have said from the start that we do not believe Northern Ireland’s energy supply can be guaranteed in the absence of Kilroot and Ballylumford.
“We are devastated that today’s announcement will not safeguard the jobs of workers at Ballylumford. However, the move is a positive one for the Kilroot facility and we will continue to work with the Utility Regulator and AES to do all that we can to press for the safeguarding of as many jobs as possible.”
Cllr Billy Ashe MBE said: “We remain fully committed to exploring any and all opportunities, and will be working to find a better solution for our local area.
“While this is a reprieve, it will take us closer to 2020. I call on AES to work with us to identify how they will compete to provide the service in 2020 and for future generations.”
Anne Donaghy, council chief executive, said: “A secure energy supply is absolutely critical to our ability to secure investment in Mid and East Antrim. My focus is now working with AES and Utility Regulator Jenny Pyper over the next 12 months as we seek to find a suitable resolution for the staff, AES, our local community and the people of Northern Ireland.”