ESB Networks and Environmental Initiatives

At ESB Networks, we make a sustained and structured effort to maintain and protect our immediate environment. Across many environmental issues, we run a number of distinct initiatives, each one fulfilling a specific role as we outline here.

ESB Networks and Waste Management

We take the issue of waste management very seriously and our approach to this issue is underpinned by the following core principles.

  • We aim to minimise the production of all wastes as best we can. In this context, we take waste disposal issues into consideration in both our selection and purchase of materials and equipment.
  • We constantly try to identify opportunities to recycle waste and continuously aim to expand the use of recyclable materials.
  • We dispose of all residual waste in a safe and responsible manner using only appropriately permitted and licenced waste management companies.
2016 Retired Material Generated

In 2016 ESB Networks achieved a 72% Depot Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Rate, and diverted 98% of overall waste arising from landfill.

The prevention and control of litter that is outside or beside occupied ESB Networks' premises is managed at local level.

At our unmanned electrical facilities associated with the Transmission and Distribution network, litter prevention presents an ongoing challenge. This is due to the large number and geographical spread of the facilities involved.

We welcome all complaints regarding litter at ESB Networks' facilities and all such issues are recorded. We aim to resolve every query in a prompt and efficient manner.

By maintaining solid links with local authorities, we work with them to resolve litter issues quickly and effectively. For example, ESB Networks has signed Memoranda of Understanding with both Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council on how litter and graffiti incidents are to be managed in both local authority jurisdictions. We plan to roll out similar initiatives with other local authorities in the future.

At ESB, our staff fully endorses our environmental commitment. We use an Environmental Management System (EMS) IT application to address the requirements of ISO 14001. This application provides staff with many forms of useful information including:

  • Job aids, policies and procedures
  • Environmental audit and incident documentation
  • Waste management information and statistics
  • Emergency response information
  • Communications information and initiatives

At ESB Networks, relevant environmental requirements and issues are also highlighted as part of our monthly internal briefing process.


When electricity is distributed through any network, there will inevitably be energy losses. Increasing the line voltage will reduce resistance losses. At ESB Networks, our current major investment programme includes increasing the voltage of much of the rural medium voltage network from 10kV to 20kV operation.

New transformers installed as part of this upgrade are also more efficient. The conversion of some MV networks to 20kV and other reinforcements have resulted in significant loss reductions with significant savings being made.

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used in some of the high-voltage switchgear on our transmission and distribution networks. SF6 is a highly potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 23,900 times that of CO2. It is used because of its very high electrical insulating properties and allows the switchgear to work efficiently and safely.

At ESB Networks, our focus is always on safety. We use monitoring equipment, controls and maintenance programmes to ensure that gas leakages are kept to a minimum. We report emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on an annual basis.  An updated ESB Networks' SF6 Gas Policy and associated Procedures have been developed in response to EU F-Gas Regulation 517/2014.

When it comes to procurement, we maintain a close working relationship with material suppliers to ensure that any products purchased meet the highest standards possible in environmental terms. With this in mind, our technical specifications are regularly reviewed to ensure compliance with the latest standards and legislative updates.


Where possible, we operate a policy of reducing fuel consumption in staff transport. We do this by purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles, ensuring that all of our drivers are trained in advanced driving which includes eco-driving techniques.

Fuel efficiency is also be increased by reducing engine idling time and also not overloading vehicles, where possible.

At ESB Networks, we maintain our fleet regularly to comply with manufacturers’ recommendations and legislation.


We have invested significantly in upgrading our nationwide oil storage and transportation infrastructure. All people working in the area receive emergency spill response training, with Spill Kits also available in required locations and, in line with best practice.