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Back to Press Releases 10 March 2022


Positive financial performance enables ESB to commit to multi-billion euro investment in its transformative drive to achieve net zero by 2040

Financial Highlights

  • Capital Investment of €1.2 billion in energy infrastructure
  • Operating Profit before exceptional items of €679 million
  • Profit after exceptional items, interest and tax €191 million
  • Strategy Launched – Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040
  • Dividends - €126 million (€1.2 billion paid to the Irish Exchequer in the last 10 years)

Dublin, Thursday 10th March 2022

ESB Group today published its Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2021. During a year of significant volatility in energy markets, ESB delivered a positive performance in 2021 with operating profit before exceptional items of €679 million, an increase of €63 million on 2020.

This increase in profit reflects higher energy margin[1] in ESB’s Great Britain (GB) generation business (due to higher plant running and prices), positive foreign exchange movements, increased electricity demand and the timing of tariff changes in the networks business, offset by losses in the GB supply business (due to the combination of significantly increased wholesale energy prices and the government-imposed price cap). In Ireland, energy margin in ESB’s generation and supply businesses were broadly in line with 2020.

ESB is recommending a dividend of €126 million, up from €81 million in 2020, bringing dividends to the Irish Exchequer in the last 10 years up to €1.2 billion. ESB’s performance in 2021 resulted in a Return on capital employed of 5.6%, which is in line with prior years.

In 2021, ESB had a net exceptional charge of €63 million. This was made up of non-cash impairment charges on the Neart na Gaoithe Scottish offshore wind farm project and on “So Energy” (GB Supply business) offset by gains on the sale of a 47% stake in Tilbury Green Power (a GB waste wood energy plant) and on the sale of part of the redeveloped Fitzwilliam Street Head Office complex in Dublin.

ESB, operating on the island of Ireland and Great Britain, continues to:

  • Invest in critical electricity infrastructure (€1.2 billion in 2021), including renewable generation;
  • Deliver reliable and safe electricity networks to 3.2 million customers on the island of Ireland; and
  • Provide long term value to over one million Electric Ireland business and residential customers through enduring savings, customer service and product innovation.

ESB’s recently announced corporate strategy, Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040, sets out a path to achieve net zero focused on decarbonised electricity, resilient energy infrastructure and empowering customers. This is demonstrated by:

  • Developing the electricity network to facilitate increased renewable and other distributed energy resource connections along with electrification of heat and transport and increases in customer demand;
  • Continuing to invest in low-carbon generation including significant offshore wind projects in Scotland and onshore wind in Ireland as well as the launch of Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint (a proposed green energy hub); and
  • Empowering customers to take more control of their energy use through green and smart tariffs, home retrofits, low-carbon energy services for businesses and by delivering high speed broadband through our joint venture SIRO, to enable more sustainable living.

Commenting on the results Pat Fenlon, ESB’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said: “In the context of the significant volatility in the energy markets, ESB delivered a positive set of financial results in 2021. We delivered a profit after tax of €191 million, dividends of €126 million and capital investment of €1.2 billion. In line with our 2040 Net Zero Strategy, which is aligned with the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan, ESB continues to significantly invest in energy infrastructure to decarbonise electricity, improve resilience and empower customers. Delivering long term value for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and the wider economy continues to be a key focus for ESB.”


As part of its ongoing commitment to its customers, and conscious of the impact of increased wholesale energy costs on electricity prices, Electric Ireland remains focused on delivering the best value possible for our customers and offering the lowest standard rate in the market for electricity.   Electric Ireland has also supported customers by offering flexible payment options and establishing a €2 million COVID hardship fund to provide support to customers who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESB’s networks businesses (ESB Networks and NIE Networks) continue to focus on delivering reliable and safe electricity over increasingly smart networks to 3.2 million homes, farms, and businesses across the island of Ireland. The roll out of smart meters in the Republic of Ireland has continued with almost 620,000 installed by the end of 2021.

Contribution to the Economy

ESB invested over €1 billion in energy infrastructure investments in 2021.

ESB provides significant employment both directly, with over 7,800 employees, and indirectly through contractors and service providers. ESB contributes €2 billion annually to the Irish economy through dividends, investments, taxes, and jobs.

The ESB Group Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2021 can be found here –


About ESB

ESB operates across the electricity market, from generation through transmission and distribution, to supply of customers in addition to using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications. ESB is a leading Irish utility with a regulated asset base of approximately €10.9 billion (comprising ESB Networks €8.8 billion and NIE Networks €2.1 billion), a 33% share of generation in the all-island market, and retail businesses supplying electricity and gas to over 1.9 million customer accounts throughout the island of Ireland and Great Britain. As at 31 December 2021, ESB Group employed over 7,800 people.

[1]Energy Margin= energy related sales less direct energy costs, before overheads and operating costs