The ESB announced last Friday that it is to close two peat-burning power stations, Lough Ree and Shannonbridge, at the end of next year after planning permission to transition to biomass was refused last year.
It is believed that up to 80 jobs will be directly affected by the closure, with a further 1,000 Bord na Móna workers also impacted.
Following the announcement, Ministers Richard Bruton, Paschal Donohoe and Josepha Madigan met with Bord na Móna and ESB workers in Offaly and Longford on Monday to discuss the Government’s so-called ‘Just Transition’ plan for the region.
In the statement released last Friday, the ESB confirmed it would be closing Lough Ree Power Station (Lanesboro) and West Offaly Power when the current planning permission expires at the end of 2020.
The statement read: “Having considered the key planning, environmental and commercial issues associated with peat and biomass, regrettably there is no viable business model beyond 2020. Therefore, both stations will cease the generation of electricity.
“Given our long history of power generation in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro, this is a matter of significant regret for ESB.
“ESB very much appreciates the commitment of our staff and the support of the broader community over many decades during which ESB, in strong collaboration with Bord na Móna, played a key role in the development of the economy in the midlands”.
The semi-state body said it would engage with staff and stakeholders to prepare for the orderly closure of the stations. It also confirmed that it would make an additional contribution of €5 million to the Government’s Just Transition Fund for the midlands.