DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's top planning body has refused permission for a major new Liquefied Natural Gas terminal, citing the government's greenhouse gas reduction targets, a possibly fatal blow to a project supporters say is essential to the country's energy security.
Planning appeals body An Bord Pleanála said it had refused permission for an LNG Terminal capable with regasification capacity of up to 22.6 million cubic metres per day and up to 180,000 cubic metres of storage in county Kerry on the west coast of Ireland.
The project would have required investment of 650 million euros ($694 million), state broadcaster RTE reported.
The development at this time "would be contrary to current government policy," said the decision, which could potentially be challenged in court.
It said it would not be appropriate to permit or proceed with the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland pending completion of a government review into energy security, which is due to be published in the coming weeks.
Ireland currently produces some gas but is expected to become increasingly dependent on gas import pipelines in the coming years.
"Further fossil fuel generation risks a failure to meet 2050 targets, would create a lock-in effect, delaying transition to a zero carbon economy and displacing investment in clean energy," the decision said.
The planning body also rejected plans for a 600 megawatt gas-powered electricity station and a 120 megawatt hour battery energy storage system.
"At a time when the world is burning, we cannot expand our use of fossil fuels. We have to switch from electricity to wind," Irish Energy Minister Eamon Ryan, a member of the Green Party, told RTE.
He said the upcoming review of Ireland's energy security could recommend some use of LNG, but that it would likely be "strategic, not commercial".
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(Writing by Conor Humphries; editing by David Evans)