A MAJOR new renewable gas facility is planned for development just outside the town of Portlaoise.
Consultation has begun about Bord na Mona’s plan to develop the facility at its Cúil na Móna site just off the Togher roundabout.
When fully operational, Bord na Mona estimates that the proposed development will treat up to 80,000 tonnes of non-hazardous, biodegradable, organic material per annum.
The company says that the material could include a combination of commercial food waste, brown bin waste, animal slurries from cattle, pigs and poultry, purpose-grown crops to include grass, silage and maize and food processing residues from dairy and meat processors.
The renewable gas processed on-site will be added to the national gas grid, which has an existing connection a short distance away at Clonroosk Little. The remaining material from the process, known as digestate, will be “sent for storage to an air-tight covered lagoon prior to its removal off-site for use as a sustainable bio-fertiliser.”
The company said that selecting the site, which is 2kms outside Portlaoise, offered many advantages, which include close proximity to the national gas network and the motorway infrastructure; rail links and road passageways, which are suitable for pipe and cable laying; an uninhabited area with an absence of residential and commercial premises; and the lands are generally flat and well-drained with good underlying ground conditions.
The company said that at peak construction it expects that up to 100 people will be employed and, when fully operational, the plant will employ 8-10 people full-time. It said that “there will also be a number of other indirect jobs within the midlands area.”
Due to the nature and scale of the proposed development, an environmental impact assessment (EAI) is required to be carried out and an environmental impact assessment report will be drawn up also and will be submitted with the planning application to Laois Co Council.
The company hopes to be given approval in early 2020 to commence construction on the site, should there be no objections.
Engineering surveys have been ongoing around the site since the start of the year. Public consultation commenced last week with those living in close proximity to the site.