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Irish peat plant reopens following EPA closure

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A peat-fired power station in Ireland is to reopen after being shut down for three months, according to the Electricity Supply Board (ESB). Lough Ree power plant in County Longford was closed in July after the Environmental Protection Agency said it was prosecuting the station for discharging hot water into the River Shannon. As a result, 70 workers at Bord na Móna, the peat and biomass firm in charge of the plant, lost their jobs.

According to a report by RTE Ireland, a change in climate conditions on the river has allowed operations to continue at the plant, however, there are major concerns over the future of the plant and hundreds of jobs at Bord na Móna across the country.

Peat harvesting and burning have taken place for centuries in Ireland. However, with the global drive toward sustainability and cleaner, greener energy, the peat industry has come under fire. Last month planning organisation An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the ESB to burn biomass at the West Offaly power station in Shannonbridge, due to a clause which would have allowed the plant to continue burning peat during the transition period.