Annual Report 2013

Managing Director’s Review
Business Review - Powergen

The Bord na Móna Powergen business manages and operates the Edenderry peat/biomass generating unit, the Cushaling peaking plant and the Bellacorick wind farm. There are also a number of development projects that are expected to add substantially to Bord na Móna’s electricity generating capacity over the next decade.

Powergen’s strategy is focused on sustainable business growth through the phased development of a diversified portfolio of generating assets. This will be achieved by leveraging land assets, project development and operation and maintenance capabilities. Powergen will be a leading low carbon electricity generator, with a suite of resources including wind, biomass and other renewables supported by flexible thermal plant.

Innovation with a fresh approach

As part of our move towards renewable energy generation, we aim to generate in excess of 500,000 MWh of green electricity by 2015. This will be enough to power over 90,000 homes.

Powergen Icons

"turnover increased by 7% to
€76 million; Biomass co-firing increased from 15% to 22%; and renewable electricity (RES-E) production increased from
17% to 23%"

Challenges

Operations

Powergen’s major operational challenge is on the management of the existing generation asset base, in order to maximise its performance and to enhance plant availability, electricity output and economic returns.

Development Agenda

As a result of Powergen’s development agenda there were requirements to: accelerate the biomass co-firing rate at Edenderry; prepare an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to accompany a planning application for the station’s continued operations; examine the implications of the terms and conditions for participating in the REFIT 3 process on the commercial operation of Edenderry, after its current Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract concludes, and negotiate the best possible contracts for the supply of civil works, turbines and the electrical balance of plant for both Mount Lucas and Bruckana wind farms.

Energy Efficiency Obligation

The business was tasked with achieving energy efficiency savings of 9.1GWh, in 2012, as part of the Bord na Móna’s obligation imposed by the Better Energy Programme.

Achievements

Operations

Despite the operational challenges and poor peat harvest, the output from Edenderry station was maximised both in terms of volume and quality: Biomass co-firing increased from 15% to 22%, and renewable electricity (RES-E) production increased from 17% to 23%.

The Edenderry station exhibited impressive reliability, with a forced outage rate of only 1.6% during 2013. The 116 MW Cushaling Power peaking plant had an annual availability of 99.7%, and the Bellacorick wind farm continued to perform well.

Turnover for the Powergen Group increased by 7% to €76 million.

Progressing Development Projects

Powergen signed the main civil and electrical works and turbine supply contracts for Mount Lucas and Bruckana wind farms. The road network and substation at Mount Lucas were built, while construction of the turbine bases commenced. The business also conducted enabling works on the substation site at Bruckana and commenced construction of its internal road network. This will result in wind-generated electricity being delivered by the summer of 2014.

The Bord na Móna/ESB joint venture to develop the first 172 MW of a large-scale wind farm at Oweninny, Co. Mayo, progressed as planned. Eirgrid confirmed that the requisite infrastructure to accommodate the first tranche of the project will by available by 2016.

Energy Efficiency

Powergen’s Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) unit achieved energy efficiency savings, which enabled Bord na Móna to comply with its 2012 (calendar year) obligations under the Better Energy Programme.

Commitments

Development

Powergen remains fully committed to the creation of a diversified portfolio of electricity generating assets with low carbon intensity. As part of this agenda the business is on target to meet the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) target for 30% co-firing with biomass at the Edenderry station by 2016.

Wind Projects

Powergen is focused on completing the 80 MW Mount Lucas wind farm, and the 40 MW Bruckana wind farm, with both expected to be in operation by the summer of 2014. It is also committed to the joint development of the first phase of the Oweninny wind farm, with ESB.

Market Opportunities

Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the UK and Irish governments in January 2013, Powergen will continue to assess the suitability of Bord na Móna’s cutaway peatland assets in the East Midlands for the development of wind farms which can form a ‘Clean Energy Hub’. The renewable electricity output could be used for domestic supply or it could be exported into the European regional electricity market. Following execution of the MOU, the primary focus is on the opportunity to export power to the UK. Powergen will also continue to seek market opportunities for improving the efficiency of energy use, which will help Bord na Móna meet its future efficiency obligations under the Better Energy Programme.