Ireland’s Electric Supply Board (ESB) has secured a €235 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to improve the performance of national energy networks.
Signed on 17 November, the investment will help enable Irish power lines to better transmit coastal wind energy to populated areas, to introduce smart metering and develop charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. The project will involve the construction of new power lines, notably in the under-served west. The capacity of rural networks will be doubled and 140km of new distribution lines will be installed in Connemara, County Galway to relieve regional voltage problems.
Richard Willis, an EIB spokesman, told Utility Week: “Ireland, as with all European governments, has very high targets for improving the use of electric vehicles.” The ESB wants to roll-out 2,000 domestic and 1,500 on-street public charging stations.
The EIB loan will support a total budget of €470 million for an ESB two year plan making these infrastructure improvements. The money should be spent soon, to establish charging stations across Ireland “within the next 12-18 months”, said Willis. The action plan is “a very complex, broad package of investments,” he added.
As regards smart meters, the investment would fund the technical design of a mass national roll-out programme.
Source: Utility Week