The Irish utility ESB has signed a new £235 million loan for the development of the smart grid program for Ireland.
The loan which covers 50% of the funding for the program, will be delivered over 2 years.
The technical design phase of the smart metering program is included. It also includes key projects to enhance transmission and distribution links from wind farms and improve efficiency and capability of the electricity networks to facilitate greater integration of renewable energy sources. The initial phase of installation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across Ireland is included, with 1500 on-street charging points and 2000 domestic chargers.
“ESB has invested more than 6 billion euros in the electricity networks over the past 10 years and we now have a very modern and robust network infrastructure”, said the ESB chief executive Padraig McManus. “This next phase of investment will enable ESB networks to handle the anticipated increased wind generation, as well as progressing our smart metering and electric vehicle infrastructure programs.
Components of the program specifically include the provision of over 270km of new high voltage lines to reinforce existing transmission links from the south-west, west and north-west of Ireland, which has significant wind generation capacity to the main population centres in the east. Additionally, the capacity of more than 8000 km of rural networks will be doubled and 140 km of new distribution lines will be installed in Connemara, Co. Galway to relieve voltage problems in the region.