Kilroot power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Kilroot Power Station is a 566 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Northern Ireland.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Carrickfergus, County Antrim in Northern Ireland.

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The power station was first commissioned in 1981.[1] However, AES bought the power station in 1992 when the publicly owned power station was privatised.

The station was originally designed to use four 300 megawatt (MW) generating units. However, due to government spending restrictions in the early 1980s the project was truncated to two 260 MW units. The station opened on 1 February 1981, when the first of the two generating unit went into operation. The plant was completed in 1981.[2] [3] The power station was originally fueled by only oil, as it was the lowest cost fuel at the time. But following a change in generating policies in Northern Ireland in 1985 following the increase in oil prices, it was decided the plant would be converted burn coal as well as oil. This conversion took place between 1986 and 1989, and the subcritical plant has burned almost exclusively only coal ever since.[2]

Two days before Christmas in 2005, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry granted AES permission to install flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment at the station. This was to help the station meet the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive by January 2008. AES's plan to install the pollution control equipment was opposed by environmental groups and the Northern Ireland energy regulator. The Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation argued that the Kilroot plant was a "relatively inefficient and dirty power station." Following the decision the authority expressed "regret" that "that Government, firstly as a result of the original botched privatisation of electricity in Northern Ireland and secondly, through what must be viewed as an inadequate planning and consent framework, is unable to prevent an outcome which is clearly contrary to its wider energy and environmental policy objectives." It also stated that "firmly opposed to the cost of the FGD extension being passed through to customers."[4]

In 2018, Kilroot lost out in a capacity auction process to supply the all-island Single Electricity Market (SEM).[5]

In April 2019 AES Corporation agreed to sell Kilroot to EP UK Investments, a subsidiary of Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH).[6][7]

In May 2020, the plant won a power auction to supply electricity from gas power from 2023/2024. The coal plant will close.[8][9] Kilroot was facing closure by 2024 as the coal-burning technology would not meet environmental standards.[5] The coal units are expected to close in 2023.[10]

In 2021 EPH continued planning for a convresion of the plant from coal to gas.

Power Purchase Agreement

From the time of privatization in 1992, AES had a Power Purchase Agreement with NIE Energy Limited, the owner of the Northern Island electricity distribution network. However, the PPA for power from AES's Kilroot power station was terminated in November 2010.[11] In its 2011 annual report AES stated that "as a result, the performance (and contributions to income and cash flow) from Kilroot will decline in the future when compared to prior years. Furthermore, these businesses (and any other businesses whose long-term contracts may be challenged) may have to sell electricity into the spot markets."[12]

Elsewhere in its its annual report AES noted that it had "lower revenue of $46 million at Kilroot, in Northern Ireland, primarily resulting from the cancellation of the long-term PPA and supplementary agreements in November 2010." AES also noted that the plant had recorded a "lower capacity factor due to a decline in market demand."[13]

Gas Plant Conversion

After receiving the T-4 auction results in 2020, EPH unveiled their plans for the new "Kilroot Energy Park". They were awarded 390 MW of new gas-fired capacity.[14] However, they have also proposed diversified plans for the site including hydrogen, solar, and battery storage to reach a total capacity of 440 MW.[15] The initial gas plant will consist of an existing open-cycle gas turbine changing from distillate to natural gas fuel, dependent on the completion of a gas pipeline to the site. Later, the coal units will be replaced.[16]

In 2021 the gas pipeline plans were approved, connecting the future plant to Belfast Transmission gas pipeline.[10]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: EP UK Investments[6]
  • Parent company: Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH)[6]
  • Location: Carrickfergus, County Antrim, United Kingdom
  • Coordinates: 54.725,-5.767 (exact)[17]
  • Gross generating capacity (operating):
    • Unit 1: Coal-fired, 283 MW (start-up in 1981)
    • Unit 2: Coal-fired, 283 MW (start-up in 1981)
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 390 MW
    • Unit GT1: Gas-fired[16] open-cycle gas turbine[16], 390 MW[15] (start-up in 2023)[18]

Articles and Resources


  1. Department of Energy and Climate Change, "Power stations in the United Kingdom, May 2012", Department of Energy and Climate Change, May 2012. (This link is to an Excel spreadsheet).
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Generating success", Modern Utility Management, June 10, 2010.
  3. Renewable Energy Association, "Kilroot Power Station", Renewable Energy Association website, archived page from July 2011.
  4. Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation, "The Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation (NIAER) expresses its dismay re Government decision", Media Release, December 23, 2005.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Campbell, John (May 6, 2020). "Kilroot to become gas-fired power station". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "EPH to buy Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations from AES". Energetický a průmyslový holding. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  7. Campbell, John (2019-04-24). "Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations sold to Czech firm". Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  8. "UK expected to use coal for power in winter". 6 May 2020.
  9. "Kilroot power station owner wins major supply contracts".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Green light for new gas pipeline to supply Kilroot Power Staton, Carrick Times, Mar 5, 2021
  11. AES, 2011 Annual Report, AES Corporation, March 2012, page 57.
  12. AES, 2011 Annual Report, AES Corporation, March 2012, page 89.
  13. AES, 2011 Annual Report, AES Corporation, March 2012, page 139.
  14. Company Update: Kilroot Energy Park Vision Unveiled, EP UK Investments, Jul 10, 2020
  15. 15.0 15.1 Kilroot Energy Park, EP UK Investments, accessed Apr 15, 2021
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 New Flexible Generation, EP UK Investments, accessed Apr 15, 2021
  17. AES Kilroot Power Station, Google Maps, accessed Apr 15, 2021
  18. Blueprints unveiled to keep Kilroot power plant open until mid-century, News Letter, Apr 3, 2021

Related articles

External resources

External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Kilroot power station. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.