EIB invests €500m in Ireland’s green-energy sector

28 Sep 2009

A key step in the provision of cheaper electricity for Irish consumers and businesses alike was taken in Dublin today with news that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is to lend up to €500m to Ireland to help secure and green the country’s electricity supplies.

The two loan contracts were signed today in Dublin by EIB vice-president Plutarchos Sakellaris and the chief executives of EirGrid and the ESB, in the presence of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD.

Of the €500m, the EIB will loan €300m to Ireland’s state-owned electricity grid operator Eirgrid for the construction of the Ireland-Wales electricity interconnector. This 256-km cable between Ireland and Wales will allow Ireland to import and export excess wind power. The total cost of the project is estimated at €601m. 

The other €200m will be loaned to the ESB to allow it to develop its renewable-energy business by installing 248MW of wind power capacity in various locations by 2012. The total cost of this investment programme is estimated at €475m.

“Ireland is very dependent on imported fossil fuels but has huge potential for wind power. Both these projects help Ireland in its ambition to go green and secure future energy supplies, helping Europe as a whole meet its climate change goals,” said Sakellaris.

 “I warmly welcome this investment by the EIB in Ireland’s energy future,” said Ryan. “We are transforming energy policy in Ireland and today’s investment will propel this transformation.

“We are well on the road to Ireland becoming world leader in green energy and the fight against climate change,” Ryan said.

“ESB is engaged in major investment in renewable energy to realise its ambition of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. We are expanding our wind portfolio to 600 MW by 2012. By 2020, one-third of ESB’s generation will be wind-based. Today’s announcement is part of that strategy,” said ESB CEO Padraig McManus.

“Today is a major milestone for Ireland’s electricity infrastructure and for our power market, with the signing of this very important tranche of funding for the East-West Interconnector project,” said EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne. “When completed, the interconnector will help ensure secure electricity supplies for consumers, it will promote competition and will enable power to be efficiently transferred between Ireland and Britain, providing Irish wind producers with access to export markets.”

Ireland meets 95pc of its energy needs through imported fossil fuels. The Government has an ambitious strategy to meet 40pc of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Article courtesy of businessandleadership.com

Photo: The European Investment Bank is to lend up to €500m to Ireland to help secure and green the country’s electricity supplies.