Scottish energy company SSE faces a major setback to its plans to develop an oil-fired power generation plant at Platin, Co Meath, Ireland after the project was refused planning permission because of concerns over greenhouse gas emissions.

Irish quasi-judicial body An Bord Pleanála has upheld an appeal by residents against Meath county council’s decision to approve the construction of the 208MW open cycle gas turbine “peaker” power plant.

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The board voted by a 5-3 majority to refuse planning permission for the SSE facility. While the board found the site suitable for electricity generation, it decided that a plant operating on natural gas or other fuel sources was more preferable to one running on distillate oil .

Distillate oils are derived from fossil fuel petroleum in conventional distillation operations and are used in diesel engines, railroad locomotives and agricultural machinery as well as space heating and electric power generation.

An inspector with An Bord Pleanála described SSE’s choice of fuel for the plant as “misplaced” and concluded that approving this project is contrary to national policy and would be “irresponsible”.

In a response, a spokesperson for the energy provider says: “SSE is disappointed with the decision to refuse planning permission for its proposed peaker plant at Platin, Co. Meath. The development proposed would provide strategic support to the electricity system during peak times, helping to maintain security of supply in the area and acting as back-up power to renewable generation.”

The plant installation was going to add new 110kV transmission substation and connect the peaker power plant to the national electricity 110kV transmission grid system.

SSE also pointed out that the plant would normally only have operated in case of peak electricity demand such as early evenings in the winter months. The company claimed it would be “largely carbon neutral”, although it acknowledged additional operational hours were a possibility.

The refusal of permission for the Platin Peaker plant is in line with a tough crackdown on polluting energy sources and comes after an announcement in September 2019 by Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar who announced at a UN assembly that the Irish Government will end offshore oil drilling.