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Empowering Ireland’s Clean Future: ESB Networks’ Path to Net Zero

Empowering Ireland’s Clean Future: ESB Networks’ Path to Net Zero
23TH MAY 2024


In January 2023, ESB Networks showcased its ambitious “Networks for Net Zero Strategy,” a blueprint aimed at transforming Ireland’s electricity distribution network to support the nation’s transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. At the heart of this strategy lies the commitment to develop a Net Zero Ready Distribution Network by 2040, a crucial milestone in Ireland’s journey towards sustainability. In this article, we will look into the key components of ESB Networks’ strategy and the importance for stakeholders to engage in shaping the pathway to a clean electric future.


The Importance of the Electricity Distribution Network:

The electricity distribution network plays a vital role in Ireland’s national infrastructure, driving economic growth and serving as a key component in meeting the climate action goals set forth in the Government’s Climate Action Plan. As Ireland adapts to the changing energy landscape, marked by the increasing electrification of heat, transportation, and industry, the distribution network becomes even more significant. ESB Networks acknowledges its role in enabling this transition and is committed to maintaining a secure, dependable, and effective network ready to meet the demands of the future.


Addressing Capacity Requirements:

A fundamental aspect of ESB Networks’ strategy is the anticipation of increased demand for electricity, driven by both the electrification of various sectors and population growth. To meet these demands, significant investment in network capacity is essential. The Capacity Pathways Consultation Report describes three scenarios for additional capacity demand, incorporating factors such as electrification, housing developments, and economic growth. ESB underscores the need for stakeholder engagement to refine and improve proposed pathways, laying the groundwork for detailed investment plans from 2026 to 2030.


Proposed Pathways for Capacity Expansion:

ESB Networks outlines several key initiatives to strengthen distribution network capacity, including changes to design standards, smart connections, demand-side management, and potential regulatory changes. These pathways signify a multifaceted approach to address evolving energy needs and ensure grid resilience in the face of increasing renewable generation.


Embracing Innovation for System Optimisation:

Recognising the imperative for innovation in system operation and flexibility, ESB Networks emphasises ongoing efforts through the National Network, Local Connections Programme. This includes initiatives focused on demand response, energy storage, and emerging technologies, aimed at enhancing the integration of renewable energy into the grid.


Engaging Stakeholders in Shaping the Future:

ESB Networks extends an invitation to stakeholders to actively participate in shaping Ireland’s clean electric future. Feedback on how ESB Networks can enable net zero, along with suggestions for refining focus and scope, are welcomed. By fostering collaboration, ESB endeavours to navigate the difficulties of energy transition and realise a sustainable future for all.



As Ireland sets course towards a net-zero future, the transformation of its electricity distribution network emerges as an anchor in achieving this ambitious goal. ESB Networks’ commitment to developing a Net Zero Ready Distribution Network by 2040 underscores the organisation’s dedication to sustainability, resilience, and stakeholder engagement. By leveraging innovative solutions, embracing stakeholder input, and moving forward with determination, ESB paves the way for a clean electric future, empowering Ireland to thrive in a carbon-constrained world.


If you would like to read the full report, find it in the link below:



ESB Networks, (2023) “ESB Networks’ Path to Net Zero’. Available at: