Keeping the lights on in Ireland

Continuing our focus the critical workers who supporting the safe and reliable supply of electricity during the coronavirus response, we caught up with colleagues at our Great Island Power Station in Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Great Island, in the south east of Ireland, is one of the country’s most-efficient gas-fired power stations, providing vital flexibility to the electricity system.

Owen Cullinane is a production technician at the station, playing an essential role in the control room, where stringent measures have been put in place to keep each other safe, while keeping the lights on.

Owen Cullinane43

Owen said: “Since the coronavirus entered our lives, we have made a lot of changes to the way we work, adapting to the latest Government and medical guidelines as they evolve. The station is operated on a shift basis and all handovers are now conducted over the phone to avoid face-to-face contact. Our control room is stocked with hand gels and cleaning sprays to wipe down any equipment and ensure good hygiene practices.

“There has been great support from our management team and other colleagues, who are working remotely at the moment, to ensure we can continue to keep the power flowing. I’m proud to be working as part of a team providing a vital service for the country at this challenging time, and particularly for healthcare workers and others on whose work we all depend.”

Elsewhere at Great Island is Bill Doyle, site Security Supervisor, who explains how his role has changed in recent months.

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Bill said: “Naturally there is a dramatic reduction in the number of people coming to the site each day, with only essential workers allowed access. However, in many ways our role has expanded as we now have a key focus on bio-security, in other words preventing the risk or spread of infection at the station.

“Of course, the limited amount of social interaction can be difficult at times. One of the positives I’ve found though is taking time to appreciate the wildlife at the site. I’ve seen cranes, pheasants, kestrels, buzzards, foxes, rabbits, hares, as well as otters at the edge of the water. I’m told the night shift team have spotted owls too.

“We all know the important role Great Island Power Station plays, and it’s really heartening to see everyone on site stringently observing the social distancing and hygiene guidelines. By working together, while staying apart, we can make sure the station continues to provide the energy the country needs throughout this challenging time.”