The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending €100 million to State utility Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) to boost its infrastructure.
GNI operates the network through which natural gas travels to 700,000 homes and businesses, an interconnector to Scotland that allows the fuel to be imported from the North Sea and a pipeline supplying the Isle of Man.
The bank said yesterday that it would provide €100 million in long-term funding to GNI which would underpin an overall €205 million investment in the company’s networks.
The investment will include building a new 50km connection between Cluden and Brighouse in Scotland, which is the latest phase in completing the interconnector between the two countries.
That link originally consisted of just one pipe, but the State company is adding a second.
GNI will also upgrade existing infrastructure in Ireland to facilitate the introduction of compressed natural gas, which can be used as a substitute for some motor fuels, and renewable gas made from agricultural waste.
Those developments are part of the State company’s overall plan to cut carbon emissions. It hopes that 20 per cent of all gas on its network will come from renewable sources by 2030.
GNI managing director Denis O’Sullivan welcomed the funding agreement with the EIB.
“This finance is a further endorsement of our strategy to provide Ireland with a secure and competitive energy supply while also playing a major role in decarbonising our economy,” he said.
EIB president Werner Hoyer pointed out that the European Union lender had a strong record of supporting energy investment across Ireland.
Over the last 10 years the bank has provided €1.5 billion for investment in the sector in this country.