Plans for the creation of a £600million energy park in Mid and East Antrim have been hailed as an excellent boost for the whole of Northern Ireland.
The new owners of Kilroot Power Station, EPUK Investments (EPUKI), recently outlined their vision for the significant project at the Kilroot site in the Borough.
The plans, which are at early concept stage, would represent the largest ever single investment in electricity generation in Northern Ireland and could include a range of renewable energy technologies and electricity generation solutions.
If taken forward in its entirety, the Kilroot Energy Park vision, would have the potential to generate up to 440MW of lower carbon and renewable energy, which is enough to power 500,000 homes.
Councillors welcomed the move at the monthly meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Mayor Peter Johnston said: “Members, power generation is a key cornerstone of our Borough’s economy, with facilities at Kilroot and Ballylumford making a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s energy requirements.
“I was delighted to learn of the recent announcement by EPUKI of a £600M investment in building the new Kilroot Energy Park.
“This Energy Park is committed to a low carbon and renewable energy promotion at Kilroot and will see the future remain in our Borough for the foreseeable. This has been made possible by the recent securing of the T-4 auction for the provision of gas for the next 10 years.
“Last week, as Mayor, I had a very good meeting with the Commercial Director where he shared with me the plans going forward.”
Alderman Billy Ashe MBE, who heads up the Council’s Energy Group, said: “This proposal is exciting news, not just for Mid and East Antrim, but for Northern Ireland as a whole, and demonstrates the power of lobbying from this Council.
“We have moved from a position of closure in January 2018 to potential investment of £600million from new owners.
“Transitioning from coal to gas will help this Council to further reduce its carbon footprint, enhancing better storage, charging points for electric vehicles, biodiversity areas, a data centre and the potential to move to hydrogen.
“Potentially, we are looking at securing supply to a third of the Northern Ireland population.
“I believe bringing this project to fruition will be challenging but what a great challenge to have.”
The investment in the site would safeguard hundreds of jobs and mark a historic milestone in the decarbonisation of electricity generation in Northern Ireland.
Over the past six months, the Energy Group and Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy have worked with the management at Kilroot to development investment plans for the site.
This included discussions with Economy Minister Diane Dodds and departmental officials.
Furter details of the Kilroot Energy Park proposals, including a video presentation, are available at: kilrootenergypark.co.uk