ESB Networks is to pay €1.1m to access some of the country's radio spectrum as part of its plans to develop a smart electricity grid.

Communications regulator ComReg has assigned two lots of the 400 MHz band to the company following an auction process.

The 400 MHz band has been reserved for smart grids, which are made up of a network of devices that can respond to electrical supply and demand.

This could, for example, see a car charging point only power on when demand on the grid is low, or when there is additional renewable energy available.

Development of a smart grid is seen as an important step in Ireland's planned reduction in carbon emissions.

As part of the spectrum award, ESB Networks will pay €320,000 up front, with fees of around €780,000 paid over the 15 years of the licences.