Belfast Telegraph

Power station closure a huge blow for Northern Ireland market, says energy expert

By John Mulgrew

The closure of Northern Ireland's largest power station is "very disappointing news" for the market here, an energy analyst has said.

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Kilroot power station, which is owned and run by AES, will close in May after its bid to supply electricity was passed over.

Vayu Energy said the news was a blow and added that local prices had dropped 13% last month amid milder conditions.

A "healthy supply pipeline coupled with milder weather conditions" drove prices down, compared to the end of December," the group explained.

It said the better weather "curtailed demand, and strong continental imports encouraged the price decreases".

But also it warned that the downward trend was likely to end soon, with temperatures "set to dip below seasonal averages in February".

Vayu senior energy analyst Catriona Walsh said: "Looking ahead to February, there is potential for national balancing point prompt contracts to gain value as temperatures are expected to fall slightly below seasonal norms.

"However, Norwegian exports to the UK are anticipated to remain strong, including the return of the Vesterled pipeline after a period of maintenance.

"The announcement that Northern Ireland's largest power station is closing down is very disappointing news for the local market."

Vayu's statement came as the average wholesale price of electricity in the Irish market fell by 11% in January compared to the same period a year earlier.

Vayu said the main reason for the drop in prices was increased wind generation.

Belfast Telegraph