26/01/2018

Over 200 Jobs Under Threat At Kilroot Power Station

Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus is facing a possible closure after it failed to win a major contract.

Over 200 jobs are at risk and the plant faces closure at the end of May.

Unions are calling on the UK government and politicians to intervene in the decision of the All-Island regulatory authorities and transmission system operators not to award Capacity Market Remuneration (CRM) contracts to the units.

Speaking on behalf of all three unions, GMB, Prospect and Unite, Joanne McWilliams, Regional Officer for Unite, said: "Management has indicated to us that critical generation units at both AES Ballylumford and Kilroot Power Stations have been denied contracts for supply under the All-Island electricity capacity auction. This decision will mean that the company cannot cover their fixed costs.

"This outcome threatens to make redundant all 150 AES workers onsite as well as the 120 direct, full-time contractors who are employed by local firms.

"This decision effectively shuts down 36% of Northern Ireland's electrical generation capacity. Such an outcome will be a disaster for local jobs and security of supply.
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"This announcement strikes at the heart of the Antrim community which over the last three years has been struck by huge jobs losses and jobs threats at the like of JTI-Gallahers, Michelin, Bombardier, Mivan, Schlumberger and Sensata (Schrader Electronics).

"AES workers produced energy to meet 22% of Northern Ireland’s demand in 2017. In making this decision, the new all-island system operator hasn’t explained from where these missing megawatts will come this coming winter meaning a grave risk of uncertainty about the power supply for all Northern Ireland firms and households. We will be ever more dependent on supply from outside this jurisdiction."

Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson expressed serious concerns.

He said: "The forced closure of these power stations ahead of schedule takes a considerable amount of existing generation capacity out of the system. It is far from certain under the current network there are sufficient checks for extreme situations in which there is increased demand for power, there are cold and still weather conditions, and a breach in the Moyle Interconnector or a combination of them.

"There needs to be clear transparency and explanations around these decisions, and challenge to Utility Regulator and the Department for the Economy. I will be seeking urgent meetings with them to see if there is a better way to minimise risks.

"I am also deeply concerned at the impact on the local economy in East Antrim and express my solidarity with the employees who may be potentially affected by this decision."

(CD/MH)

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