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SSE Thermal secures 10-year contracts for two new low-carbon power stations in Ireland

05 Apr 2023

SSE Thermal, as part of SSE plc, has provisionally secured 10-year capacity agreements for its two proposed new-build power stations in Ireland which would run on sustainable biofuel.

The proposed low-carbon units at Tarbert in Co. Kerry and Platin in Co. Meath received the contracts in the T-4 Capacity Auction to commence in the 2026/27 delivery year.

Both plants would help to protect security of supply and provide flexible backup to Ireland’s growing renewables sector. The proposed units will initially run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (or HVO), which is produced by processing waste oils to create a fossil-free alternative to diesel in accordance with EU sustainability standards. This would provide a bridge to a hydrogen future with both units having the potential to convert to the fuel.

While in development and still subject to planning permissions and final investment decisions, the new power stations plan to be operational by September 2026 with the potential to subsequently underpin demand for low-carbon hydrogen in Ireland.

The proposed unit at Tarbert would represent the next chapter of power generation at the historic site, with SSE Thermal’s existing Tarbert Power Station to close this year. There is also clear potential for other energy projects at the site, capitalising on its strategic location on the Shannon Estuary.

In total, SSE secured ten-year contracts for 260MW of de-rated electricity generation at the Tarbert new-build unit (€129,000/MW) and 140MW for the Platin new-build unit (€177,000/MW).

In addition, SSE Thermal's existing units at Great Island (383MW) in Co. Wexford and smaller peaker plants at Rhode (93.3MW) in Co. Offaly and Tawnaghmore (93.7MW) in Co. Mayo received one-year contracts for 2026/27 at a clearing price of €83,050MW.

SSE Renewables also secured contracts for 30MW of onshore wind capacity at €83,050MW*.

Through this latest T-4 auction, the System Operators provisionally awarded a total of 7,204MW of capacity contracts to electricity generators, demand side response units, interconnectors and storage at a general auction clearing price of €83,050/MW for existing units. This auction relates to the capacity year 2026/27, which runs from 1 October 2026 to 30 September 2027.

"Our proposed low-carbon power stations at Tarbert and Platin can play a crucial role in Ireland’s net zero transition and these provisional contracts reflect their potential."

Catherine Raw, Managing Director of SSE Thermal

Catherine added:

“Beyond helping to address security of supply concerns through the use of sustainable biofuels, sites like Tarbert and Platin could later become lighthouses for the integration of the existing energy system with a new hydrogen economy, capitalising upon Ireland’s enviable wind resource. Developing hydrogen-ready power stations is one of the first steps towards this and we look forward to progressing both projects into planning this year.

“We are also pleased to secure provisional contracts for our existing units at Great Island, Rhode and Tawnaghmore which continue to make a valuable contribution to the electricity system in Ireland. Ultimately, they will help to keep the lights on and provide valuable backup to renewables whilst lower carbon alternatives are being developed.”

These provisional results are subject to approval by the Regulatory Authorities and are expected to be confirmed in April.

*All volumes include a de-rating factor applied in accordance with the rules set by the System Operators and approved by the Regulatory Authorities.