EIB to lend €100m to Gas Net­works Ire­land

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - BARRY O’HAL­LO­RAN

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.

New 50km con­nec­tion

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.

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