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Belco gets go ahead for generators

Plans approved: Belco's Pembroke plant (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Plans to install new generators at Belco have been given the go ahead.

The application proposed four new 14 megawatt dual-fuel diesel engines, to be installed in a new powerhouse with a 65-metre chimney on the Belco site between Cemetery Road and St John’s Road in Pembroke.

A report to the Department of Planning said: “Given the compliance with current planning policies and an addendum to the original environmental impact study that adequately demonstrated the revised scheme results in lower level impacts than the previous approval, the application is supportable.”

The installation of the new generators would allow Belco to decommission three engines that are beyond their service life.

The report said: “The size and scale of the project, particularly the exhaust stack and power plant structure, have long-term and potentially significant visual impact implications for the broader surrounding area.

“It must be acknowledged, however, that this is an industrial site already containing a nationally critical industrial use.

“Any expansion for diesel engine facilities will require the scale and scope of the type of facilities proposed to the North Power Station, and the associated emissions stacks are large and inevitably unattractive structures.”

In a meeting of the Development Applications Board on May 30, the technical officer recommended the application for approval.

He told the board the new engines would have an operational life of 30 years.

Belco gained permission in 2011 to build the North Power Station. At the time, the company sought to install four 18 megawatt engines.

The application was revised the following year to propose five 14.3 megawatt engines.

The revised application, submitted in March, would include a smaller powerhouse and an updated design.

Construction on the project is expected to take 18 months and involve about 100 workers.