Efforts are underway to determine the viability of a major anaerobic digestion facility in Lanesboro
The loss of Lanesboro’s ESB power plant could pave the way for a major anaerobic digestion facility in its place, it has emerged.
Longford County Council officials have put out a call to interested parties on the Government’s etenders website for a feasibility study to be carried out.
The move comes after the local authority secured funding, believed to be around €100,000, through the EU’s Just Transition Fund.
Anaerobic digestion facilities involve the conversion of agricultural waste or food waste into heat and electricity, providing a useful tool in reducing carbon emissions from agricultural waste.
In recent years, bio-digestion or anaerobic digestion (AD) has become a popular diversification for farmers and food producers, as the extra income can subsidise other parts of the business.
Local councillors Ger Farrell and Mark Casey gave a cautious welcome to the news as the town and surrounding area attempts to regroup following the closure of the ESB’s Lough Ree power station last December.
“I do welcome it,” said Cllr Farrell.
“Anything that could possibly bring jobs to the area must be examined closely because we really need to see some sort of energy production come in to replace the power station.”
Cllr Farrell said while any hopes for a fully functioning anaerobic digestion plant was “not the answer” in underpinning the region’s economic future, he defended the projected six figure spend of taxpayer’s money in undertaking a feasibility study.
“Hopefully some sort of private investment could come of it. €100,000 in 2021 doesn’t go a whole long way,” he said.
His Independent colleague Cllr Casey said it was imperative some form of lasting economic stimulus resulted from such explorations.
“There are feasibility studies for a boardwalk and ampitheatre too so there needs to be something out of this,” he said.
“With what is being talked about (anaerobic digestion feasibility study) there will be upwards of €500,000 spent and still there is not a sod turned on any of them.”