HC Deb 14 February 1991 vol 185 c993
11. Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current position regarding the construction of phase II of Kilroot power station.

Mr. Needham

Construction of phase II of Kilroot cannot begin until decisions are taken on whether the station is to be coal/oil-fired or gas-fired. The provision of a supply of natural gas to Northern Ireland for use in power generation is being urgently explored.

Mr. Foulkes

Has the Minister checked his files? If he has, he will realise that I have been raising this matter year after year after year. There is an empty shell at Kilroot, and Northern Ireland Electricity wants to build phase II there. We in Ayrshire have low-sulphur coal, which is ready to be shipped to Northern Ireland. Why is the decision taking so long?

Mr. Needham

Because, as the hon. Gentleman knows, Northern Ireland is one of the poorest parts of the United Kingdom and, whatever we do, we must ensure that energy prices are as low as possible. If we were to have coal-fired generation at Kilroot phase II it would require flue gas desulphurisation, whereas gas generation would not. We want to try to get a gas supply into Northern Ireland.