The Shannon Scheme does not provide “Green Energy”

It’s not “green energy” when when you have no effective fish passes, no fish screens, have never completed an Environmental Impact Assessment and are abstracting >96% of the flow from a Natura 2000 river. This is what is happening on the Lower River Shannon.

The video below was taken at Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Station in January 2020. There is no downstream fish pass and thousands of critically endangered silver eels are killed each year. As with salmon smolts they are drawn down the headrace from the SAC – >96% of the flow was being abstracted by ESB on this day and this was the prevailing situation for several months prior to this.

No Environmental Impact Assessment or Article 6 Appropriate Assessment has ever been completed for this excessive abstraction. There is also no SAC Management Plan for this Natura 2000 river. None of the mitigation for this scheme (salmon hatchery, fish lift etc.) has worked. And Irish Water thinks that this can continue and impose a major new water abstraction to Dublin on top of this?

The upstream salmon pass here is also ineffective. Indeed, none of the mitigation used for the Shannon scheme has worked – and salmon runs are less than 5% of what they should be. The traditional eel fisheries are long gone, but it’s business as usual for the ESB.

The ESB are still managing this river in the same way as they did in the 1930’s – how have they got away with this? Let’s make 2020 the “Year of the Shannon Salmon”.

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