The ESB has this evening announced that it is to embark on an unprecedented capital investment programme of €22bn.
The board of the company has approved a Strategic Framework to 2020 that will see major investment in renewable energy, the halving of its carbon emissions within 12 years, and the achievement of carbon net-zero by 2035.
Fifty percent of the overall investment package is geared towards investments in a renewable future. €4bn of this will be directly invested in renewable energy projects and €6.5bn will be spent facilitating renewables including smart metering and smart networks.
The company says the plan, which will establish ESB as a world class renewables company, makes emissions reduction and energy efficiency central to its ambitious targets.
By 2020, ESB will be delivering one-third of its electricity from renewable generation. This will include over 1,400 megawatts of wind generation, in addition to wave, tidal and biomass. To promote this, the company says it will invest in emerging green technologies.
The board says it will drive substantial cost reductions in overheads across all its businesses in order to meet its new financial challenges and at the announcement of the initiative up to 400 job losses were forecast.
With the development of a single British-Irish electricity market by 2020, ESB's international profile will continue to expand. The company plans to invest in more generation plants and renewables in Britain and further plants in Europe.
Its chairman, Lochlann Quinn, said the Strategic Framework to 2020 addresses ESB's response to major imperatives now demanding action.
"ESB is operating in a dramatically changing environment. Three overarching concerns now exist – the consequences of climate change, energy security and competitiveness of energy supply and ESB is strong, focussed and prepared to deal with them", Mr Quinn said.
ESB Chief Executive, Padraig McManus, says the blueprint positions them now as a leading energy company in Europe.
Part of the strategy will involve the rollout of smart meters to homes in Ireland allowing householders to better plan their electricity consumption something the board boss says is also a key part of their future strategy.