Bord Gáis Energy, and its parent company Centrica, will invest over €250m in the construction of two new power plants here.

Clearance works have started at the two sites - Athlone in Co Roscommon, and Profile Park in Co Dublin - and the full construction and design tender competitions are also in progress.

Both power plants are expected to be completed by end of 2024. They will provide 200MW of flexible gas fired power generation - enough power to keep 100,000 homes fully powered all year round.

Because they are flexible, they can be easily switched on and off as demand peaks, which Bord Gáis said will help to make the country's energy supply more stable and secure.

Bord Gáis said the new power plants can react to the peaks and troughs of electricity generation from renewable generators and the relative speed with which they can be switched on and off will be a key benefit.

The plants are capable of moving from a standing start to full power generation in the space of six minutes and are central to ensuring Ireland has a secure and stable energy supply, particularly at times of peak or short-term demand.

Bord Gáis also said that the proposed plants will be hydrogen enabled, in preparation for running on renewable gas when it is available.

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, said the company recognises the current difficulties facing consumers all across Ireland in relation to energy costs.

"In 2022 we will make no profit in residential energy supply and have instead sought to protect customers through absorbing some of the worst increases in energy prices, supporting the most vulnerable and investing in our customer service teams and training," Mr Kirwan said.

"We have put in place an energy support fund and committed 10% of operating profit from other parts of our business to further support customers who need it most right now," he said.

"In addition to our existing Whitegate power station, the construction of these two new plants will help the penetration of renewables on the system while also supporting Ireland's journey to net zero," he added.