ESB arranged a number of special tours to view progress at the Turlough Hill site in the year running up to the opening of the station in 1974.
Designing and developing a pumped-storage hydroelectric station was a unique and innovative civil engineering solution for Ireland at the time and attracted a lot of interest.
Visits by members of the electrical division of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland in September 1973 and another for CIGRE (Internation Council on large electrical systems) are featured in the photo gallery above.
A visit by members of the Houses of the Oireachtas took place in July and we include photos from it below.
A massive feat of innovative environmental engineering, you can find out more about the history and design of Turlough Hill here.
In his talk to the visitors from the Oireachtas, ESB board member T McMahon spoke of the importance of Turlough Hill at a time when Ireland had the fastest growth rate (10%) in electricity demand in Europe.
Extract of talk below…
“Today you have the opportunity to see the largest civil engineering project ever carried out in this country. The cost is £20 million, the bulk of which is being spent in Ireland. It is the first pumped storage station to be built in this country and it has been planned and built in order to achieve a more economic system of operation in our electricity system.
It is not a primary source of energy because any units which are produced from Turlough Hill have initially been produced by our large oil-fired stations, the power of which is used to pump the water to the upper reservoir. What it does, however, is to ensure that demand throughout the twenty-four hour span can be levelled out and this way it will help reduce the amount of capital which would be required to meet heavy peak demands.
The system has been used in many other countries on the Continent, in America and in Britain, but I am happy to say that our project here includes many innovations. I am also proud to say that the design and the greater part of the supervision has been carried out by Irish personnel.
Ireland has one of the fastest growth rates in electricity demand in Europe. The average is, in fact, of the order of 10% a year. Other factors, however, are now entering into the picture. Our accession to the Common Market and various aspects of our social and economic progress may accelerate that growth rate very rapidly. Already we have had enquiries for very large demands. It is a fact that development cannot take place without the ready availability of electricity and, consequently, the Board has had to develop flexible programmes which will ensure that Ireland will not have to turn away any acceptable economic development because of a lack of energy.”
All press cuttings for the Oireachtas visit story above are from Electrical Mail, August, 1973.