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 ESB Networks announces transformative plans for a Net Zero future  

  • Networks for Net Zero Strategy supports the targets in the Climate Action Plan 2023 by delivering an electricity network that facilitates clean energy 
  • The Strategy outlines investment in the electricity network of more than one billion euro every year to 2030   
  • It will involve working collaboratively with all stakeholders towards a net zero future, powered by clean electricity.

Issued 23 January 2023

ESB Networks has today launched its Networks for Net Zero Strategy which outlines its commitment to futureproofing Ireland’s electricity network and making the country’s goal of net zero by 2050 a reality. This will require deploying innovative solutions today which are scalable to meet the electricity needs of the nation by 2040.  The Networks for Net Zero Strategy will underpin an energy transition that will enable electricity customers to adopt new technologies, products and services in the decade ahead, changing how they generate, store and consume electricity. 

In order to meet the changing needs of society and to achieve climate action targets, ESB Networks has set out an estimated €10 billion euro investment to 2030 to develop a smarter and more flexible electricity network. The transformative plan will be a key component of delivering a clean electric future and supporting the connection of renewables.  It will also meet the anticipated increased demand for electricity in Ireland as a result of growth in industry, new housing projects and the electrification of transport and heating. It will involve working collaboratively with all stakeholders towards a net zero future, powered by clean electricity. 

ESB Networks will be recruiting a significant number of people over the next five years to drive delivery of the Strategy. The Strategy will also mean further developing global supply chain and contractor partner relationships.  

The Networks for Net Zero Strategy will: 

  • Enable 9 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind, 8 GW of solar, and at least 5 GW of offshore wind. 
  • Deliver capability to manage up to 30% of all electricity demand flexibly. 
  • Deliver a smart distribution network through ESB Networks’ National Networks, Local Connections programme.  
  • Connect renewable generation to enable up to 80% of decarbonised electricity. 
  • Support Government commitments under the Housing for All programme by connecting more than 300,000 new homes by 2030.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “We are at a critical juncture in the climate crisis. Every energy group, company or organisation that I meet, I tell them that the grid is key to our renewable future. I welcome ESB Networks’ ambitious Strategy launched today as it outlines a clear roadmap of how our electricity system will play a key role in Ireland’s transition to net zero and address climate change challenges.”  

“Building on its strong legacy, the ESB Networks’ Strategy recognises the importance of developing an electricity network that is prepared and equipped to adapt to meet the changing needs of Irish homes, farms and businesses and enable the decarbonisation of the Irish economy and society. I welcome in particular the planned multi-billion euro investment and significant recruitment drive to ensure our climate action targets are delivered upon.” 

ESB Networks Managing Director, Nicholas Tarrant added: “Our Networks for Net Zero Strategy highlights ESB Networks’ leading role and commitment to delivering on the Government’s Climate Action Plan Targets for 2025 and 2030. This Strategy also commits ESB Networks to delivering a Net Zero Ready Distribution Network by 2040. This will accommodate high levels of renewable generation to provide clean electricity which will be used to replace fossil fuels wherever possible and enable the decarbonisation of Irish society. This Strategy is about putting customers first and empowering everyone to be part of the journey to Net Zero. We are looking forward to leading the way, making transformational changes to address the climate challenge and supporting a vibrant modern Ireland for generations to come.”

You can read the full Strategy here 



Media queries to: 

Paul Hand, ESB Press Office, 0857256798/   

NOTES to editor

The new strategy is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 interlinked goals provide a global and widely accepted blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. They act as a call to action for countries, NGOs, companies and individuals to align their actions around common goals that matter to people and the planet. ESB Network’s Strategy is focused on three of the SDGs where ESB Networks can make a lasting and tangible difference – namely: 

  • SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all   
  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation   
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts  

A Net Zero Ready Distribution Network 

The Networks for Net Zero Strategy outlines ESB Networks’ drive to develop a Net Zero Ready Distribution Network by 2040 which will enable Ireland’s achievement of net zero no later than 2050. It is driven by ESB Networks' central role in leading the transition to a secure and affordable low-carbon future, using clean electricity. The transition to a Net Zero society no later than 2050 will be enabled by a Net Zero Ready Distribution Network by 2040. 

We have identified three strategic objectives, which are core to delivery of our Strategy:  

Decarbonised Electricity:  

This objective reflects our commitment to support Ireland in achieving net zero through enabling the connection of renewable generation to decarbonise electricity. At ESB Networks, distribution system operation at all voltage levels, is core to what we do today. The energy transition and the roll out of new technologies means that the way we manage the network will change materially in the future. Thus, as the electricity system transitions towards a smarter, sustainable model, the operation and management of these new resources will require a digital network that is flexible and smart.

Resilient infrastructure:

This objective recognises that the transition to a low carbon future powered by clean electricity requires a network that is resilient to the impacts of climate change and disruptive events such as storms and cyber threats. It also recognises we need to build capacity to connect the renewable generation to our network that will generate the clean electricity. In addition, we need to provide network capacity for the demand associated with significant population growth, new housing developments, economic growth, as well as a significant increase in demand due to electrification of heat, transport and industry.  

Empowered customers: 

This objective reflects our commitment to working alongside customers and communities, supporting them to achieve net zero. We will use data and digital technologies to deliver convenient and personalised customer experiences. We will also develop insight-driven services to meet diverse and evolving customer needs. ESB Networks will put in place solutions for our networks customers to enable the electrification of heat and transport. We will make it easy for customers and communities to participate in markets for flexibility and make active choices in their use of energy. 

About ESB Networks 

  • At ESB Networks, we’re delivering an electricity network to empower our 2.4 million customers every day with choices and flexibility around how they consume, generate, trade and store electricity.    
  • By investing in our technical capability and collaborating with our partners, we’re delivering a safe and resilient electricity network of the future. And crucially, we’re paving the way for Ireland’s clean electric future through the electrification of heat and transport, as well as connecting renewables at scale to the electricity network.   
  • We’re delivering the electricity network of the future, designed to serve all electricity customers and to ensure a net zero society in Ireland.   

For more information and to access the Network for Net Zero Strategy visit: