ESB could spend €700m on plan to meet surging electricity demand

State-owned ESB could spend €700 million building new power plants in Dublin over the next four years to meet surging electricity demand, much of it from data centres.

ESB plans to build new gas-fired plants in Ringsend, Poolbeg, Corduff and North Wall with a total capacity to generate 450 mega watts (MW) of electricity, enough to power half a million homes, by 2023.

It also intends building three battery plants, to store 136MW of electricity generated in quiet periods that can be released at times of high demand, in Poolbeg, Ringsend and Inchicore.

The power plants could cost €500 million while the storage facilities could require another €200 million, industry sources estimate. ESB must complete them by 2023.

National grid manager Eirgrid on Thursday released results of an auction in which power companies committed to investing a potential €1.7 billion in new electricity generators.

Data centres

The auction results outline ESB’s plans to invest in the power generators and storage facilities to cater for growing electricity demand, driven by increasing numbers of data centres near the capital.

Also included are plans by Scandinavian company, Statkraft, to build a wind farm off Dublin’s coast for a probable €1 billion.

Energy regulators from the Republic and the North, and two independent members, designed the auction. Eirgrid will make payments to the most efficient suppliers. The grid operator will pay out €342 million between October 2022 and September 2023, down from €550 million in 2017.

Rodney Doyle, Eirgrid’s market operations director, said the generators would provide “safe and secure power generation at the lowest possible cost”. ESB said it was assessing the auction’s results.