The European Investment Bank and Ireland’s largest electricity utility ESB have signed a EUR235m ($317m) loan deal to develop Smart Grids

The loan will provide half the funding for a total investment programme of EUR470m which is to be delivered over two years.

The project includes plans to enhance transmission and distribution links from wind farms and to improve the efficiency and capability of the electricity networks to facilitate greater integration of renewable energy sources.

The programme also includes the technical design phase of a national smart metering rollout and the construction of more than 270km of new high voltage lines to reinforce existing transmission links from the southwest, west and northwest of Ireland – which has significant wind generation capacity – to the main population centres in the east.