European bank signs deal to loan ESB €100m

The ESB has signed off on a €100m loan deal with the European Investment Bank to fund its latest push to increase energy from renewable sources.

The money will be used to connect windfarms in the south-west of the country into the national grid and build five substations.

This is the second part of a €200m loan from the Luxembourg-based investment bank that is owned by the EU member states. The first tranche was signed last December.

Under EU requirements, 20% of Ireland’s electricity must come from renewable energy sources by 2020. It currently stands at 18%, with 15% of that coming from wind energy, according to the Wind Energy Association.

To achieve the target, Ireland will need to double the amount of electricity generated over the next six years, the requirements state.

Over the past 10 years, the European Investment Bank has supported close to €2bn worth of investment in energy infrastructure in Ireland, including the East-West Interconnector and various renewable energy projects.

Around half of this has been with the ESB to support upgrading of the country’s electricity distribution and national transmission network, and for construction of new links to connect windfarms to the main population centres.

ESB managing director Marguerite Sayers said: “I look forward to working with the [European Investment Bank] in the years to come as we ensure our electricity infrastructure remains a world-class benchmark for leading technology and windfarm connection.”

Energy Minister Alex White said: “This will contribute to economic recovery and job creation and I wish ESB and the European Investment Bank every success with their funding arrangement.”


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