ESB to recruit 1,500 new workers in €10bn plan to switch electricity network to zero-emission energy

ESB is to spend more than €1bn a year and hire 1,500 new workers as it upgrades the electricity network to switch to zero-emission energy.

ecruitment will take place over the next five years, with the first 900 new employees to be in place by 2025.

The new hires will swell the existing workforce of 3,500 by 40pc by 2028.

The overall €10bn investment strategy will run to the end of 2030, by which time the national Climate Action Plan requires that 80pc of the country’s electricity needs must come from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

ESB says the strategy is designed to accommodate 50pc clean electricity on the network by 2025, meet the 2030 target and prepare the network to move towards the higher ambition of net zero emission electricity by 2040.

It also says it will provide for the increase in electricity that will be needed by the growing population, economic growth, industrial expansion, hundreds of thousands of new homes and the electrification of transport and heating over the next two decades.

The “Networks for Net Zero Strategy” will be announced at an event in Dublin today.

ESB Networks manages the countrywide network of high-voltage stations, overheadpower lines, underground cables, substations, poles and smart meters.

With the move to clean energy, the infrastructure must be strengthened and updated to cope with the higher volumes of power needed and also the variety of sources of power generation.

Electricity is currently generated mostly by major regional gas, oil and coal-fired plants as well as onshore wind farms.

By the end of the decade, generation will mainly come from onshore and offshore wind farms, industrial solar farms and community, commercial and household solar microgenerators. It means diverse voltages and timings of output.

The strategy stresses the need for a much more flexible and fast-responding network that will require extensive use of smart technologies.

It recommits to getting all domestic and commercial customers to use smart meters after a very slow start to public adoption of the technology.

It sets out targets for improved customer service, seeking to limit unplanned outages to no more than 60 minutes per year by 2030.

ESB Networks managing director Nicholas Tarrant said: “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.”

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