Decarbonised electricity: deliver a fivefold increase in renewable generation capacity to 5GW, reducing carbon intensity by two-thirds by 2030; resilient infrastructure: increase investment in batteries and have three pilot hydrogen projects under way by 2023, storing clean electricity when there is a surplus so that it can be used when the wind isn’t blowing; empowered customers: double the number of EV charge points to 3,000 and complete 35,000 home retrofits by 2030.
ESB has announced a transformative drive to achieve net-zero by 2040 and to put in place the infrastructure and services to enable customers to do likewise.
Driven to Make a Difference: Net Zero by 2040 sets out a path to achieve this focused on decarbonised electricity, resilient infrastructure and empowering customers. The strategy explicitly maps to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), supporting the global agenda to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Objectives core to the delivery of the strategy include:
Decarbonised Electricity: Develop and connect more renewables to the electricity network. Deliver a fivefold increase in renewable electricity, increasing ESB’s renewable generation portfolio from almost 1GW to 5GW and reducing the carbon intensity of our generation by two-thirds by 2030. ESB Networks and NIE Networks, with EirGrid and SONI and all renewable developers, are already working to deliver a doubling of the renewable generation connected to the electricity transmission and distribution networks – from 6.2GW today to more than 15GW as both Ireland and Northern Ireland target 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030.
Resilient Infrastructure: Resilient electricity networks are absolutely central to climate action. ESB will continue to invest in maintaining electricity resilience, an important and challenging factor in the transition, and in system services, which will be required to help the system operators cope with high volumes of renewables. A fundamental part of the capability to get to Net Zero, is finding a way of storing clean electricity when there is a surplus so that it can be used when the wind isn’t blowing. ESB is committing to play a significant role in making this a reality both through batteries and the other intraday storage and, in longer term, clean energy storage technologies such as hydrogen.
Empowered Customers: Empower, enable and support customers and communities to achieve net zero, reflecting our commitment to working alongside customers and communities supporting them with the infrastructure, products and services they need to live more sustainably using clean electricity. Specifically, we plan to double the number of ESB’s public EV charge points by 2030 to 3,000 – helping to drive carbon out of transport. And we will deliver 35,000 deep home retrofits through electric Ireland Superhomes – our new partnership with Tipperary Energy Agency – supporting our customers to drive carbon out of heating.
The strategy is being launched today in the National Concert Hall by ESB chief executive, Paddy Hayes, and environment minister Eamon Ryan TD.
Hayes said: “At ESB, we are driven to make a difference and will focus our efforts on the areas where we can make the biggest impact – creating and connecting sustainable, reliable, affordable electricity – and supporting the customers and communities we serve to achieve net zero.
"By setting a clear, timebound ambition to achieve net zero by 2040, along with a Science Based Target for 2030, we are determined to play our part in taking urgent action to combat climate change, delivering a brighter future.”
'Stabilise our climate'
Minister Ryan said: “The window of time to stabilise our climate is closing. Here in Ireland we recently passed the Climate Act, placing us on the journey to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. I welcome the ambition and urgency shown by ESB in its Net Zero 2040 strategy launched today that sets a clear direction and exercises leadership in tackling climate change.
“Building on a proud history, the ESB strategy recognises the role of resilient electricity generation and networks infrastructure in providing secure, clean and affordable electricity. I welcome in particular the multi-billion investment to repurpose our electricity system to power 1.3m EVs and 600,000 heat pumps with low-carbon energy by 2030, placing the citizen centre of this transformation.”
The new strategy builds on ESB’s 2017 Brighter Future Strategy and explicitly maps 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’s strategy is focused on three of the SDGs where ESB can make a significant 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