Sustainability & Environment
For generations to come
Sustainable power generation
Our history: from hydro to fossil fuels
ESB power generation has been a model of sustainability since its inception - it was first based on hydro power.
The demands of economic development soon led to the familiar dominance of fossil fuel thermal stations (peat, oil and coal).
Creating cleaner power
As the electricity industry decarbonises, it is clear that electric energy will be the "fuel of choice" in the future.
Today, electricity generation in Europe accounts for 33% of CO2 production. Addressing this means major change in generation practices.
The planet's vast resources of coal, particularly in the US and China, means there is an imperative to find a way to remove CO2 from coal-fired generation. For some countries, nuclear generation is back on the agenda.
Toward wind power
In the last decade, the development and deployment of wind generation has exceeded all expectations - Europe had 65,000 MW of wind installed at the end of 2008.
Ocean and tidal energy are also finally getting serious attention.
At ESB, the future sustainable generation platform will be based on a greatly expanded wind capacity, increasing tenfold from the current figure of over 100 megawatts.
This will be combined with clean coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
What we're doing now
We are divesting much of our older inefficient thermal plants and replacing them with high-efficiency, combined cycle gas turbines.
We're also making rapid progress in building our renewables portfolio based on wind.
During 2008, we increased our installed wind generation capacity to 122 megawatts (MW) with a further 70 MW under construction.
We're also on target to expand our wind portfolio to 600 megawatts by 2012.
In addition, all ESB generation sites and ESB fisheries have retained their accreditation to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard. Further progress was made in bringing ESB Networks' environmental management system to this international standard.
Find out more
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