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Brief overview of generation in Ireland since 1929
Through the new national network constructed under the Shannon Scheme, ESB began supplying the urban areas in 1929 with power produced at Ardnacrusha, Co Clare. In the same year ESB acquired Pigeon House, (an oil burning station which had been operational under the Dublin Corporation Lighting Committee since 1903) and later a smaller station in Cork city.
In the 1940s, ESB’s focus shifted to the electrification of rural Ireland, as well as the expansion of its hydroelectric network on the River Liffey.
Following both the end of World War Two and the success of these schemes, ESB went on to install over 400MW of generating capacity through the building of eleven peat stations between 1950 and 1965. At one time, peat constituted approximately one third of ESB’s total capacity and was a valuable component of diversifying fuel sources.
Also during the 1950s, ESB built four additional stations as part of two new hydro-schemes on the River Lee and River Erne.
As Ireland’s population grew and demand for electricity increased, ESB recognised the need to meet this booming demand for power in an environmentally friendly manner. ESB designed and constructed a pumped storage hydroelectric station in Turlough Hill in 1974, a unique and innovative civil engineering solution for Ireland at the time.
In 1978 ESB began to use natural gas at Marina station in Cork city and shortly afterwards at a new station in Aghada, Co Cork. Additionally, ESB commissioned one of Ireland’s largest stations at Moneypoint in Co Clare in 1985, to help reduce its dependence on oil as a source of electricity generation.
The generation of electricity in Ireland has evolved significantly since 1925. Since ESB opened its first wind farm at Crockahenny, Co Donegal in 1998, it has developed an extensive portfolio of renewable assets, complemented by acquisitions and partnerships. To read more about ESB’s current generating assets, please click here.