Synergen’s Dublin power plant gets EU approval

5 June 2002 – A €250m gas-fired power station built by Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board and Norway’s Statoil was cleared for operation by the European Commission on Friday, regulators said.

The EC approved the operation of the joint venture Synergen Power Station, at Ringsend, in Dublin, on condition it sells half its output to independent suppliers.

“These conditions imposed on ESB are designed to facilitate greater competition and assist in encouraging new generators to enter the Irish electricity market,” Ireland’s energy regulator Tom Reeves said in a statement.

Around 40 per cent of the Irish energy market is now open to competition. The market will be fully opened in 2005 under a phased liberalization, which began in 2000.

The 400 MW power station – 70 per cent of which is owned by ESB and 30 per cent by Statoil – will help ease the strain on Ireland’s electricity network, which has seen demand surge as a result of the economic boom of recent years.

Last winter ESB imported emergency generation from the US for the second year running.

Under the agreement with the EC, Synergen must offer 200 MW of its output for sale to non-ESB independent suppliers. ESB must also continue to offer a further 400 MW of wholesale electricity to independent suppliers.

In addition, the obligation imposed on Statoil not to participate in competing power stations has been deleted from the joint venture agreement.

The Synergen power station is in the final stages of commissioning, and is due to come onstream later this year.

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