Electricity supply in Ireland: The history of ESB
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This book was commissioned by ESB as an independent study tracing the development and functioning of one of Ireland’s most important economic and commercial institutions. It documents the growth of ESB since its foundation in 1927 to 1984.
The authors, one a political scientist, the other an economist, had free access to ESB files and papers in various government departments for this purpose. The result is a detailed insight into the relationship between ESB as a public sector enterprise, and the government of Ireland.
The book reveals how political and economic constraints imposed on ESB have shaped its development, and it illustrates the role of the ESB in modernising Irish society and commercial life.
The book recalls the scheme for harnessing the Shannon river which preceded the formal establishment of ESB. The Board’s early progress and difficulties are chartered, and the impact of electrification on life in rural Ireland before and after World War II is highlighted. The role played by electricity supply in the expansion of the Irish economy between 1960 and 1973 is explained, as is the force of the recession of the late 1970’s.
It also discusses the continuing controversy of whether turf should be used to generate electricity as well as the topical issue of nuclear energy.