ESB commits profits to green research


  INVESTMENTFUNDING DEVELOPMENT: THE ESB has established a new €200 million Innovation Fund, which is indirectly backing a number of solar energy firms, electric car infrastructure and Tesla Motors' electric sports car, writes JOHN REYNOLDS

 It made its first investment last month, ploughing $20 million (€15.5 million) into US venture capitalists Vantage Point Venture Partners, which has more than $4 billion (€3.1 billion) invested in clean technology, healthcare and technology companies.

"This investment gives us an insight into what these kinds of clean-technology companies are about and how their technology works. I had a test drive of the Tesla Motors sports car and I think if everyone had a chance to drive one, they would all be won over by electric cars," said ESB group finance director Bernard Byrne.

At least €40 million from ESB International's profits will be allocated to the fund per year over five years, as part of the company's strategy to become carbon neutral by 2035.