ESB aims to be net zero in emissions by 2040

14 Feb 2022

Minister Eamon Ryan, TD. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Minister Eamon Ryan welcomed the “ambition and urgency” shown by this new strategy, which is based off three UN Sustainable Development Goals.

State-owned energy company ESB has announced a new set of goals to help it achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, along with plans to put in the necessary infrastructure to allow its customers to do the same.

These goals include a five-fold increase in renewable energy to 5MW, along with reducing the carbon intensity of its electricity generation by two-thirds by 2030.

The energy company said itself and other state-owned groups such as EirGrid are already working towards doubling the renewable generation connected to Ireland’s network. It added that Ireland and Northern Ireland have a target of 80pc of electricity coming from renewables by 2030.

The new strategy was launched today (14 February) by ESB CEO Paddy Hayes and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD. The energy company said its strategy is based on three UN Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are focused on creating affordable, sustainable energy developing resilient infrastructure and combating the climate emergency.

“By setting a clear, timebound ambition to achieve net zero by 2040, along with a science-based target for 2030, we are determined to play our part in taking urgent action to combat climate change, delivering a brighter future,” Hayes said.

In order to help “empower customers” to achieve net-zero emissions, the state-owned company plans to retrofit 35,000 homes and double the number of ESB public charge points for electric vehicles (EVs) to 3,000 by the end of the decade.

According to The Irish Times, Hayes said this new strategy will require €2bn in investment every year until 2030.

Speaking at the launch, Ryan welcomed the “ambition and urgency” shown by the ESB in its new strategy, which sets a “clear direction and exercises leadership” in dealing with climate.

“The window of time to stabilise our climate is closing,” Ryan said. “Here in Ireland we recently passed the Climate Act, placing us on the journey to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“I welcome in particular the multibillion investment to repurpose our electricity system to power 1.3m EVs and 600,000 heat pumps with low-carbon energy by 2030, placing the citizen centre of this transformation,” Ryan added.

ESB has been putting a greater focus on renewable energy. Last September, the company made plans to collaborate with others in the energy sector to find ways to deliver a low-carbon electricity system by the end of the decade.

Before that, it revealed plans to turn its Moneypoint site into a green energy hub and, along with energy company DCarbonX, announced plans to develop a large-scale green hydrogen storage project off the coast of Co Cork.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic