County: Kerry
Fuel type: Oil
Capacity: 620MW
Status: Active
Commissioned: 1970
Sold: in 2009 to Endesa


The ESB Generating Station at Tarbert in County Kerry was officially opened on 19 June 1970 by Taoiseach Jack Lynch, at the time, the 27th generating station on the ESB system.

Construction of the first phase of the Tarbert Generating Station commenced in October 1966 and the first 60MW unit went into service in September 1969. The second 60MW unit was commissioned in December 1969. The second development phase comprised two 250MW units. The first of these was commissioned in April 1976 and the second in April 1977. During the 1980s, the station had a total installed capacity of 620MW capable of producing 3,500 million units of electricity a year, and was the largest station on the ESB’s system. The total capital investment in the project was £55 million, and over 500 people were employed at the peak of its construction.

Tarbert was the first oil-fired station built by ESB on the Shannon or its estuary. The other stations on the Shannon are Arigna, Lanesborough, Shannonbridge and Ardnacrusha. Tarbert was designed to utilise a heavy residual fuel oil which is an oil refinery by-product. Oil was delivered to the station’s 300 ft jetty and pumped at almost 500,000 gallons per hour into the storage tanks which had a capacity of 18 million gallons. This storage capacity is sufficient to maintain full station output for about 14 weeks.

Control room at Tarbert station, 1970s

Control room at Tarbert station, 1970s

The station generated electricity at 10,000 volts, but this was ‘stepped up’ in the station’s own transformers to 110,000 volts before being delivered into the national network. This is done, because it is more economical to transmit power over long dis­tances at high, rather than low voltages.

The station was sold in 2009 to Endesa, and remains operational on its original site.

Click the images below for more information relating to the operation of Tarbert station under ESB.

Tarbert Power Station from book “A Heritage Inventory of ESB Buildings in Ireland”


Tarbert PR Pamphlets, 1970s

Tarbert PR Pamphlet, 1980s

Tarbert PR Pamphlet, 1980s

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