The Anonymous Widower

SSE Thermal Is Charting A Path For Low-Carbon Flexible Generation In Ireland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from SSE.

This is the sub-heading.

SSE Thermal, as part of SSE plc, is exploring options to develop two new low-carbon power stations in Ireland which would help to protect security of supply and provide flexible backup to renewable generation.

This three paragraphs outline the project.

Sites in Tarbert in County Kerry and at Platin in County Meath, could provide the location for these new power stations, which would initially run on sustainable biofuel with the potential to convert to hydrogen in the future.

Biofuel provides a lower carbon option for use in power stations, using waste feedstocks to produce valuable flexible electricity making it an important transitionary solution as plans for a greater use of hydrogen and carbon capture are developed. The proposed units will run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (or HVO), which is produced by processing waste oils to create a fossil-free alternative to diesel in accordance with EU sustainability standards.

Development at the two sites could provide up to 450MW of new generation capacity to the grid, with up to 300MW at Tarbert and 150MW at Platin. While in early development and still subject to a final investment decision, these new power stations could be operational as early as 2027, bringing with them the potential to underpin demand for low-carbon hydrogen in Ireland.

One problem is that SSE’s existing Tarbert Power Station is required to close by the end of 2023 in line with its environmental licence. So it looks like they’ll have to get going quickly.

Lessons From Keadby 2

Keadby 2 is one of SSE Thermal’s newest power stations and it is described in this page on the SSE Thermal web site, which is entitled Keadby 2 Power Station.

These are first three paragraphs from the page.

Keadby 2 is a new 893MW gas-fired power station in North Lincolnshire currently being constructed by our EPC contractor Siemens Energy. The project is adjacent to our operational Keadby 1 Power Station.

SSE Thermal has partnered with Siemens Energy to introduce first-of-a-kind, high-efficiency gas-fired generation technology to the UK. When completed, Keadby 2 is expected to become the cleanest and most-efficient gas-fired power station in Europe.

The station will also be capable of being upgraded to further decarbonise its generation through carbon capture or hydrogen technology, as routes to market develop.


  1. Siemens Energy seem to be able to deliver large gas-fired power stations to satisfy SSE Thermal.
  2. Looking at the data sheets for Siemens Energy’s heavy-duty gas-turbines, they can run on a wide range of fuel including biodiesel.
  3. This document from Siemens Energy describes work to run their gas-turbines on HVO.
  4. If Keadby 2 can be upgraded to run on hydrogen, I can see no reason why Tarbert and Platin won’t be able to be similarly upgraded in the future.

SSE Thermal seem to be following a similar philosophy to generate lower-carbon electricity at Keadby and in Ireland.

Could We See A Large HVO-Fuelled Power Station In The UK?

I wonder, if we’ll see a large HVO-fuelled power station in the UK?

It appears SSE and Siemens will have the technology and expertise.

I suspect it depends on there being large amounts of HVO available.


March 4, 2023 - Posted by | Energy | , , , , , ,


  1. Its essential that we have alternatively fuelled thermal power for baseload if we are serious about switching off gas as a fuel source. Wind is very low today and we totally reliant on gas and the i/cs even the French are sending us power. You can build as many windmills as you want but we will always need some form of baseload. Also on day like this you would be surprised how many diesel peakers will be called onto the grid to meet the peak not exactly environmentally friendly.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | March 4, 2023 | Reply

  2. The diesel peakers indicate to me as a control engineer, that we need more storage and probably a few strategic interconnectors. SSE and National Grid are proposing both and the mathematics of both probably say they are profitable.I believe they could be financed by City institutions like Aviva or L & G. We also probably need a 100 MW/1 GWh environmentally friendly storage that can be installed at critical points on the network, like where wind farm connectors come ashore. I think SSE have got it right at Keadby, where it looks like we could have three gas-fired and one hydrogen-fired power station, backed up by carbon capture under the North Sea and the massive Aldbrough hydrogen store.

    Scotland will be alright with upwards of 50 GWh of pumped storage being planned, which also has the advantage of fast response.

    North-West England has the possibility of carbon storage in the Liverpool Bay gas fields and hydrogen storage in Cheshire’s salt.

    Wales should be OK, as there could be more pumped storage.

    It is England South of the Humber-Mersey Line, that could have the problem.

    It certainly needs base load and storage.

    Could this be why two nuclear power stations are planned at Hinckley Point and Sizewell?

    Comment by AnonW | March 4, 2023 | Reply

  3. I don’t know how soon the new plant could be operating but The Kerryman says that Tarbert and Moneypoint (at the other end of the Tarbert- Killimer ferry) will be generating for some time to come despite the supposed cessation at the end of the year. Do read.

    Comment by fammorris | March 4, 2023 | Reply

    • Thanks! I suspect there’ll be more announcements from the Irish Government.

      At 915 MW, Moneypoint is a big coal-fired power station.

      Comment by AnonW | March 4, 2023 | Reply

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