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ESB and Renewable Energy

ESB’s 2040 strategy Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040 sets out a clear roadmap for ESB to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. 

We will develop and connect renewable energy to decarbonise the electricity system by 2040. We will invest in the development of new renewable generation, including onshore and offshore wind and solar, and will significantly increase in the amount of renewable generation connected to our electricity networks.

We will:

  • Deliver more than a fivefold increase in our renewable generation portfolio to 5,000MW.
  • Reduce carbon intensity of generation fleet from 414 to 140gCO2/kWh by 2030.
  • Decarbonise 63% of our generation output by 2030 and 100% by 2040 (up from c20% now).

 

Our renewable energy Investments

At ESB, we believe in the power of wind energy and the potential it has to help deliver a net zero future for society. 

From our first 5MW wind farm in Crockahenny, Co Donegal in 1998 we have developed an onshore wind asset portfolio that has the capacity to supply 1GW of clean energy to the homes, farms, hospitals, schools, and businesses throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. Take a look at our asset map here for more information on all our wind farm sites across Ireland and the UK. 

Mirroring the Government's 2030 target that 80% of all electricity used in the Republic of Ireland will be generated from renewable sources, ESB is committed to continue developing its own pipeline of low-carbon generation assets including wind farms.  

Current Onshore Wind Projects

  • In late 2019, ESB and Bord na Mona completed phase one of Oweninny Wind Farm in Co Mayo with 89MW. Work is now in progress for phase two of the project, adding 83MW to Ireland's renewable asset portfolio. For more information, click here.  
  • In 2020, Grousemount Wind Farm in Co Kerry, ESB’s largest onshore asset, came into commission which has the capacity to generate 114MW of green energy. For more information, click here.
  • In 2021, we announced our partnership with Coillte, FuturEnergy Ireland, to develop onshore wind assets on Coillte-owned land in Ireland. More information is available here
  • We are also continuing to develop a pipeline of around 1GW of onshore wind assets in Scotland and Wales. 

At ESB we know the importance of offshore wind in tackling climate change and delivering net zero. Ireland has a unique capability given its prime location to take advantage of the potential of offshore wind. We are working hard to develop offshore wind projects for the benefit of everyone across society in Ireland and the UK. This includes ongoing engagement with marine users and local communities so we can deliver these significant projects. 

Offshore wind will play a major role globally in our fight against climate change. It will help to replace energy generated by burning fossil fuels with that from a clean, safe and secure renewable energy source. Ireland’s geographic location on the exposed edge of the Atlantic presents us with a significant opportunity to generate electricity from wind – both offshore and onshore. 

Power from onshore wind farms currently provide over one-third of Ireland’s electricity needs. But, whilst its marine area is many times the size of its landmass, Ireland’s offshore wind potential is only starting to be realised. We have a coastline stretching over 3,000km but only one operational offshore wind farm – Arklow Bank, with a capacity of 25 MW. In contrast, Belgium’s coastline is only 63km long, but it has already developed more than 2,000 MW of offshore wind. In Great Britain, with a coastline four times the length of ours, offshore wind generation now equates to over 440 Arklow Banks, with an installed capacity of 11,0000 MW as of late 2021. 

The Irish Government's target to install 5,000 MW of offshore wind capacity in our maritime area by 2030 is set out in the Climate Action Plan 2021. It also has the objective to source 80% of Ireland’s electricity needs from renewables by the same year. In line with this, ESB is applying its professional and proven engineering expertise to the challenges set within the Climate Action Plan.  

We are committed to playing a strong role in developing Ireland’s offshore wind potential for the benefit of the people of Ireland. This will be done in consultation with marine users and local communities, and with due care for the marine environment.  

You will find further information on our offshore wind projects in Ireland at the links below:

-Clogherhead Offshore Wind
-Celtic Offshore Wind
-Helvick Head Offshore Wind
-Loch Garman Offshore Wind
-Moneypoint Offshore Wind
-Oriel Windfarm
-Seastacks Offshore Wind - Consultation room for project is open via here and the latest project update is available here.

These projects build on our stake in Galloper Offshore Wind Farm (acquired by ESB in 2018) as well as our 50% shareholding in Neart na Gaoithe, a 448 MW offshore wind farm currently under construction off the east coast of Scotland.  

In October 2020, ESB also partnered with Edinburgh-based Red Rock Power Limited to form a 50:50 joint venture for Inch Cape Offshore Limited. This 72-turbine wind farm is in development off the east coast of Scotland. You can read more here

 

At ESB, we see Solar Energy as a crucial part of our goal of delivering net zero emissions by 2040. Ireland has great potential to take advantage of solar energy, now and for the future. ESB is continuing to develop a growing solar energy portfolio and we are partnering with others to help deliver this and significantly reduce carbon emissions, from the Midlands to Dublin Airport.  

Solar energy is a key part of our  ‘Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040’ Strategy. This strategy will help to to shift electricity generation away from fossil fuels and we will do this by developing renewable projects of scale. In doing so, ESB will deliver the transition to a low-carbon energy future based on clean, reliable and affordable electricity. 

Solar energy is suited to Ireland‘s climate and can provide a clean, diversified renewable electricity source. 

At ESB, we have significantly increased our investment in solar energy since 2015 and continue to develop a growing portfolio. 

Partnership With Harmony Solar 

In May 2020, we entered into a partnership with Irish-owned renewable energy company, Harmony Solar.  ESB and Harmony Solar are developing a portfolio of over 1200 of solar throughout Ireland.  

The development pipeline of the partnership will see an initial capital investment of €30 million. There will be further investment in the medium to long term as the pipeline comes to fruition. More information is available here.  

Co-development agreement With Bord na Móna 

In 2017, we announced a co-development agreement with Bord na Móna. The aim of this was to develop solar energy projects in four locations in counties Kildare, Offaly and Roscommon. The joint venture, known as Sundew Solar, will access part of Bord na Móna’s land bank in strategic locations across the Midlands. These locations are ideally suited for large-scale solar energy projects.  

The joint venture brings together the expertise of two leading commercial semi-state companies, ESB and Bord na Móna, in renewable energy with significant projects that support Ireland’s energy transition. 

ESB's Smart Energy Services Solar Projects 

ESB’s Smart Energy Services helps large energy customers to lower their carbon footprint. This is done by improving the energy efficiency of their business while also delivering savings on their energy costs.  

An example of this in action was when ESB’s Smart Energy Services helped the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to achieve a 33 per cent reduction in energy consumption at the airport by 2020. This included the installation of 268 solar panels on top of the airport's reservoir system that will provide more than half of the reservoir's annual energy requirements. Watch here to learn more about how this was achieved. 

ESB recognises that hydrogen produced from renewable electricity will play a significant role in the decarbonisation of many sectors, including transport. To that end, we plan to use our existing capabilities and future renewable growth to become a leading player in large scale renewable hydrogen production, thereby enabling renewable electricity, in the form of electrons or green modules, to meet the energy requirements of Ireland’s future zero carbon economy.

ESB Hydrogen Projects

ESB and dCarbonX

ESB and dCarbonX have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint assessment and development of Irish offshore green hydrogen subsurface storage. This partnership represents another milestone in Ireland’s emerging hydrogen economy as part of its transition to a low-carbon future. Under this agreement, ESB and dCarbonX will work together on licensing, environmental studies, site selection, project sanctioning, offshore infrastructure development, commissioning and operations in areas that are adjacent to ESB’s existing and planned future infrastructure. More information here.

Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint

In April 2021, ESB announced Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint where our County Clare site will be transformed into a green energy hub, helping Ireland to become a leader in the green energy production. ESB’s plans include investment in a green hydrogen production, storage and generation facility at Moneypoint towards the end of the decade. A clean, zero-carbon fuel, green hydrogen will be produced from renewable energy and used for power generation, heavy goods vehicles in the transport sector and to help decarbonise a wide range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics and cement manufacturing. More information here.

Hydrogen and Transport Sector

The electrification of transport is critical to the transition to a low-carbon future, with ESB committed to enabling this as part of our Brighter Future strategy.

The transport sector is currently the second highest contributor to greenhouse gases in Ireland and the use of hydrogen, produced by electrolysers powered by renewable energy, to fuel heavy goods vehicles combined with battery EVs for cars and lighter commercial vehicles can enable zero emissions transport.

ESB has been actively engaging with Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI), a partnership of businesses from across many sectors, together with public sector and academic stakeholders, with all-Island cooperation, to deliver a coordinated approach to the introduction of Hydrogen energy technology.

Contact Information

For more information, email hydrogen@esb.ie

At ESB, we know the value battery storage can bring to our decarbonisation goals. We are working on major battery energy projects, from Cork to Dublin, that will support the national grid. And we have partnered with others to ensure we have highly flexible and fast-reacting battery technology. 

Battery storage is one of many energy and flexible technology solutions ESB is adopting to help deliver net zero. This storage supports Ireland’s climate target of 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.  

Our aim is to develop a pipeline of projects to deliver large scale batteries, as well as additional flexible enabling technologies. This is crucial to supporting the grid and will facilitate ever more onshore wind, offshore wind and solar onto the electricity system in the coming decades.  

Battery Projects 

In late 2020, we announced the development of the first of our major battery projects at existing ESB sites at Inchicore, Co Dublin and Aghada, Co Cork.  

Battery Energy Storage Systems will deliver 60 MWh at Inchicore in Dublin and 38 MWh at Aghada Generating Station in Cork.  

We are also working with partners Fluence, Powercomm Group and Kirby Group in the delivery of these two projects. The Aghada project was completed in January 2021 with Inchicore due to be completed in Q2 2022.   

Overall, the battery projects will support the grid system via the Distributed Services (DS3) market. We have sourced highly flexible and fast-reacting battery technology, via Fluence, that will ensure these batteries can provide a wide range of system services required by the national grid operator, EirGrid. 

We are also constructing another two battery energy storage facilities on the grounds of Poolbeg and Ringsend Power Station. We are replacing redundant buildings in Poolbeg that made up part of the old conventional power plant with the latest technology in energy storage. This 1.5-hectare site will have the capacity to provide 75 MW of power for up to two hours (150MWh) at times of high demand. Read more about these plans for Poolbeg Power station here. The Poolbeg and Ringsend (60MWh) projects are progressing well, and both are due for completion by the end of 2022.