THE ESB has secured a new €100m investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help pay for infrastructure to connect new wind farms to the national grid, the Irish Independent has learned.
The EIB loans will cover half the €200m cost of the schemes, and will be seen as a vote of confidence in the state-owned power company following the industrial dispute centred on its pension scheme.
Legal documents for the financial package were signed in Dublin yesterday, but full details of the scheme will not be finalised until the New Year.
The Luxembourg-based EIB is the European Union's publicly owned bank, set up to provide low-cost finance for public or private-sector projects across Europe as part of its mandate to stimulate economic activity.
Including new loans for the University of Limerick signed off yesterday, the bank has provided €682m of new finance to projects in Ireland in 2013 -- up from €505m last year -- its president Jonathan Taylor told the Irish Independent.
Schemes backed by the bank in 2013 range from road and school building projects, to financial packages aimed at boosting lending to small businesses, and even Vodafone's roll-out of 4G infrastructure.
The financial packages are not linked to the bailout so the end of the EU/IMF programme will not mean a decrease in EIB lending, Mr Taylor said.
A "strong pipeline" of projects for 2014 includes finance for the Luas in Dublin, the N17-18 Gort-Tuam link road, and the new campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology at Grangegorman, he said.
Public private partnerships (PPP) are expected to increase, as international financiers and contractors join the bank to finance commercially viable projects, Mr Taylor added.