Our Networks

Rural Electrification

From the first national electricity network in 1927 to rural electrification between 1947 and 1956, the electricity network infrastructure has helped build a modern Ireland.

To support renewable energy, we’re upgrading our transmission system and deploying new IT and communication systems.

The electricity system is currently undergoing major change, driven by Ireland’s commitment to source 40% of electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2020. The electricity networks are being adapted to meet this challenge. This requires significant upgrading of the transmission system including the building of some new lines.

Transmission System

The nationwide electricity transmission system carries large volumes of electricity at high voltages (400kV, 220kV and 110kV) from generation stations to bulk supply points near the main towns and cities. From these, it connects with the distribution system, as well as to transmission systems in Northern Ireland and Britain. See Table 1 for data on ESB’s transmission system.

Table 1 - Data on the extent of the Transmission System owned by ESB

Transmission Lines (km) Transmission Stations(km) 



400kV Overhead Lines438
400kV Stations5
400 kV Underground Cables 1
220kV Stations26
220kV + 275 kV Overhead Lines1821
110kV Stations45
220kV + 275kV Underground Cables 163
400/20kV Transformers8
110kV Overhead Lines 4245
275/220kV Transformers 3
110kV Underground  Cables 292
110kV Submarine Cables 16
220/110kV Transformers 57


ESB Networks builds and maintains the transmission system. Eirgrid manages the power flows, including electricity generated by each major facility. Eirgrid also ensures that the transmission system can meet the growing demand for electricity in the future and allow more electricity to come from renewable sources, such as wind farms.

Visit Eirgrid


Distribution System

The distribution system delivers electricity from the transmission system to 2.3 million customers in Ireland, operating at 110kV in the Dublin area, and at 38kV, 20kV, 10kV and low voltage (LV) nationwide. In serving Ireland’s large rural population, the network length per capita is four times the European average and overhead lines outnumber underground cables 6 : 1.

Table 2 - Distribution System Statistics

Quantity Description
2.1 million Wooden Poles 
150,000 km Overhead Line 
22,000 km Underground Cable 
242,000Pole Mounted MV/LV Transformers 
21,680Ground MV/LV Substations 
133110kV/38V or 110MV substations 
43838kV/MV Substations 
2.5 millionMeters 

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