Irish utility ESB Networks has secured a €150 million ($179.5 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund its smart meters project.
The smart meters will be deployed in phases with up to 2.4 million units set to be installed by 2024.
The smart meters will be deployed as part of the National Smart Metering Programme which is a key part of the Irish government’s National Climate Action Plan.
The 15-year loan will ensure the completion of meter rollout in Cork, Laois and Kildare counties which was started in Autumn 2019. Up to 200k units are expected to be installed by the end of 2020 and 500k to be deployed per annum.
The project will help ESB Networks to offer new smart services as from 2021.
Benefits of the smart meters will include:
- Facilitating the development of Ireland’s growing renewable generation, smart grids and support the electrification of transport and heat.
- Providing customers with greater access to accurate information on energy usage, giving greater control over energy consumption. In trials, consumers reduced consumption by up to 3% and peak demand by 8%.
- Enabling more accurate billing, significantly reducing the need for manual meter readings and estimated bills.
- Improving customer services by allowing ESB Networks to find faults quicker and manage the network more efficiently. It will also enable customers to switch electricity supplier and move premises more easily.
- Enabling electricity supply companies to begin to offer new smart products and services, giving more choice and enabling customers to move some of their consumption to times of day when electricity is cheaper.
Eamon Ryan, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks, and Transport in the Irish government, said: “Ensuring continued climate action investment is essential for Ireland to contribute to tackling the global climate emergency. I welcome the European Investment Bank’s latest vote of confidence in Ireland’s National Climate Action Plan and the new EUR 150 million backing for ESB Network’s rollout of smart meters.
“The EIB’s support for 70 million smart meters across Europe has shown how new technology enables homeowners to use energy in a smarter way, save money on electricity bills and reducing their impact on the environment. The EIB is a key partner for long-term investment in Ireland and I look forward to ensuring that the EIB, as Europe’s climate bank, continues to increase support for high-impact climate investment in this country.”
Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB, said: “The National Smart Metering Programme being delivered by ESB Networks is an important enabler of Ireland’s National Climate Action Plan and helping empower all electricity consumers to actively play their part. This is a big investment in Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon future and the wider economy. ESB has a long-standing relationship with the EIB and we welcome their support in helping to deliver this important programme.’