AES Kilroot power station is located on the north shore of Belfast Lough, east of Carrickfergus. As a dual coal and oil fired facility, the power station comprises of two generators, each of which is capable of producing 260MW when firing oil. It forms an integral part of everyday life in Northern Ireland, as it produces one third of its electricity and is among its 100 top employers. AES Kilroot is an integral part of the electricity supply system in Northern Ireland, and maintains an extremely high availability record. The company is also the only major non-gas electricity generator in the area, strengthening the region’s security of supply and acts as a hedge against the volatility impact of natural gas fluctuations on the cost of electricity.
Having served the community for over 20 years, the AES Kilroot power station produces the electricity that allows the economy to grow, and the business believes it can continue to make the same contribution for years to come. As increasingly stringent environmental standards are applied by the EU, AES Kilroot must also adapt in order to continue producing much needed electricity. Accordingly, AES Kilroot is evaluating the need to invest in additional equipment to control emissions of SO2 and NOx as EU legislation becomes clearer.
The recent installation of a new FGD system will continue Kilroot’s focus on the local community, sustainability and security of supply. Having selected the latest known technologies for its FGD modernisation program, the company will be able to achieve its environmental goals at the lowest possible cost with minimal disruption to the community and environment, while avoiding the use of chemicals, additives or sorbents. The successful implementation of this modification has allowed AES Kilroot to make a strong contribution to the cleaning of Northern Ireland’s air while retaining 125 local jobs and continuing to provide local consumers with low cost and reliable electricity.
As part of the AES Corporation, AES Kilroot benefits from belonging to a global group. The AES Corporation is a worldwide power company with generation and distribution businesses. Through its diverse portfolio of thermal and renewable fuel sources, it provides affordable and sustainable energy in 31 countries. Its workforce of 27,000 people 45is committed to operational excellence and meeting the world’s changing power needs.
The history of the Kilroot Power Plant dates back to 1974, when Kennedy and Donkin, consultants to the Northern Ireland Electricity Service (NIES) began the lengthy process of designing and constructing the facility. The first unit went into service in February 1981, and the plant was completed in 1982. The power station was originally designed to burn oil, as it was at the time the lowest cost fuel available and was expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. A full examination of future generation policy in Northern Ireland in 1985 following the oil crisis that drove oil prices to record levels, recommended that the Kilroot units be converted to dual coal/oil firing. This was proposed as it would lessen the provinces’ 90 per cent dependence on oil and provide a better fuel mix in the Northern Ireland system. Conversion of Units 1 and 2 took place between 1986 and 1989 and the station has run almost exclusively on coal ever since.
Today the station generates 520 MW of electricity from a dual coal/oil fired plant and it is the only coal-fired plant in Northern Ireland. It was originally designed to have four 300 MW units, but government spending restrictions in the early 1980s meant that the project was truncated to two 250MW units with the Unit 2 plant being redesigned to coal burning, while the main boiler house and turbine hall were partitioned to house only two units. AES took over the plant in 1992 when NIE sold its four power stations in Northern Ireland.
AES Kilroot has maintained a strong commitment to the local community, and all its charitable giving and community projects are co-ordinated by its Social Responsibility Taskforce, which is made up from a cross section of the employees. AES Kilroot also has a strong dedication to environmental matters in Northern Ireland and the surrounding area, and believes that its business activities should be undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner.
Across all its activities the business aims to demonstrate its commitment to the principle of sustainable development. Part of this goal is ensuring that forthcoming environmental regulations are met so that Northern Ireland gets the competitive and reliable power it needs.