AES Kilroot Power Limited in Carrickfergus has entered into an agreement to provide 12 months’ “essential stability” to the Northern Ireland electricity grid from today.
The deal has been agreed after the finalisation of the negotiations between AES, the Utility Regulator and SONI (Ststem Operator for Northern Ireland) and AES Ballylumford Limited.
AES will continue to operate the larger Ballylumford unit, a 593 MW Combined Cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, two Ballylumford Open Cycle gas turbines (OCGT) units and four Kilroot Open Cycle gas turbines (OCGT) units – 142MW.
“For more than 20 years AES has provided safe and reliable energy to Northern Ireland while demonstrating operational and safety excellence, said Mark Green, president of AES Eurasia, AES Corporation.
“The system support services agreement awarded to AES Kilroot Power Limited shows the importance of the facilities we are operating. We are happy that both the Utility Regulator and SONI continue to see AES UK and Ireland as a reliable partner.”
Serhiy Zuyev, president of AES UK and Ireland added: “The portfolio restructuring at AES in Northern Ireland will have an impact on the organisation structure across both Ballylumford and Kilroot plants.
“Management will immediately enter into consultation with union representatives on how that process will be managed to mitigate compulsory redundancies where possible.
“I would like to thank our people, contractors and suppliers for their patience, diligence and continued commitment as we continue to operate Kilroot and Ballylumford, securing safe and reliable energy for the people of Northern Ireland and supporting the local economy”
“After transferring the capacity from Ballylumford to Kilroot and having received a derogation from the Utility Regulator enabling AES to close the units before the required three-year notice period, AES will start the process of closure of units B4 and B5 at Ballylumford Power Station.”
Robin McCormick, general manager, SONI, commented: “At SONI. our priority is ensuring Northern Ireland has a secure, reliable electricity supply delivered at the least possible cost to consumers.
“As directed by the Utility Regulator, SONI carried out an assessment of the impact of the early closure of two large generating units at Kilroot and two large generators at Ballylumford. This followed commercial decisions by AES to request permission from the Utility Regulator to allow the early closure of these units.
“Our analysis was clear that if all four units were to close sooner than the standard three year notice period, there would be significant impact to the power system which would mean security of supply could not be maintained.
“SONI’s analysis identified the need for two of these units to be retained for a 12 month period, to support system stability and to allow for a number of planned outages for maintenance at power stations across Northern Ireland. In addition, our current power system restoration plan includes Kilroot as an important site.
“A contract has been agreed between SONI and AES, and the recovery of costs has been approved by the Utility Regulator.”