ESB's Moneypoint is Ireland's biggest polluter


The Irish Times has reported that the ESB's Moneypoint coal-fired power plant at Kilrush, Co Clare, was the single biggest polluter in the Republic last year - belching out 4.7 million tonnes of CO2.

This is according to an EU report seen by The Irish Times.

Irish Cement's plant near Drogheda and Aughinish Alumina's factory in Limerick were the second and third biggest polluters, according to the EU statistics, which are due to be published next month.

Irish Cement's plant, which is owned by the CRH group, emitted 1.47 million tonnes of CO2 last year - slightly more than the 1.46 million tonnes in 2006. The company's plant in Limerick also made it into the top 10 most-polluting factories here, emitting 816,699 tonnes of CO2 in 2007.

Scotchtown Cement in Cavan and Lagan Cement in Westmeath also featured high on the list of Irish polluters.

Cement is one of the most widely-used substances on the planet, but it is also one of the most polluting. It is estimated that cement-making contributes to 5 per cent of global emissions due to the large amounts of CO2 released when limestone and clay are heated to very high temperatures to create clinker - and later, cement.

Other major polluters include the ConocoPhilips Whitegate oil refinery in Cork and Premier Periclaise, which manufactures magnesia products used in steel, cement, lime, glass and non-ferrous metals.

Kerry Group's ingredients plant in Listowel and Glanbia's Bally-ragget facility in Kilkenny also make the top 10 list of polluting factories.

Electricity-generation is a major contributor to emissions of greenhouse gas from the industrial sector, which is included within the EU's emissions trading system (ETS). Moneypoint, which produces about 30 per cent of Ireland's entire electricity requirements, was the single biggest emitter of CO2 in 2007 - producing 4.7 million tonnes of CO2, slightly down on the 4.9 million tonnes it produced in 2006.

Moneypoint relies on coal to produce electricity, one of the dirtiest forms of fossil fuel used to generate electricity. An ESB spokeswoman told The Irish Times that the plant was essential to maintaining a balanced fuel mix, ensuring security of supply here. She said that the ESB was spending 340 million installing a retrofit environmental project in Moneypoint to minimise sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

The ESB also operates within an approved cap on CO2 emissions and dispatches its power plants - including Moneypoint - on an economic basis within this cap, she added.

The ESB's power plants at Poolbeg, Dublin Bay and Tarbert also make the top six list of CO2 emitters for power plants. Viridian's plant at Huntstown and the Tynagh power plant in Galway make up the remainder of the list.

The total amount of CO2 emitted by the 116 industrial installations monitored by the EU for its emissions trading system, was 21.2 million tonnes in 2007. This compares to 21.6 million tonnes in 2006 and 22.5 million tonnes in 2005.

Source - The Irish Times