Turlough Hill

Turlough Hill_Reservoir Full


County: Wicklow
Fuel type: Pumped storage
Capacity: 292MW
Status: Active
Commissioned: 1974


Turlough Hill, Ireland’s only pumped storage power station, located in the scenic Wicklow Mountains, was brought into commercial operation in 1974. This innovative and environmentally-friendly project was the largest civil engineering operation ever undertaken in the country when construction began in 1968.

The station generates up to 292MW during peak demand periods and can go from standstill to full capacity in 70 seconds. It does this by releasing water from the upper reservoir and allowing it to flow through four turbines into the lower reservoir. During periods of lower demand, water is pumped back to the upper reservoir, ready to be used again. This helps flatten the ‘demand curve’ for electricity over any given 24-hour period and so is invaluable to the ESB grid.

In 2004, Turlough Hill became the Hydro Control Centre (HCC) for the entire ESB hydro fleet which contains 19 generators in total.

Over The Hill – The Story of Turlough Hill – 2015

This is the most recent film about Turlough Hill and features up-to-date footage of the station in action. The 13 minute video explains how Turlough Hill combines the natural elements to produce quiet efficient power and also provides an interesting overview of station’s history and its complex construction. It features technical explanations of how the pumped storage system at Turlough Hill operates, using footage from the station and informative animations. It also describes the important role of the Hydro Control Centre which operates from Turlough Hill.

1970s Films from the Archives

When ESB moved onto the Turlough Hill site in 1968 it became the largest civil engineering operation ever undertaken in the country.  This huge undertaking attracted a great deal of public interest both at home and from overseas. In order to inform the public about the developments in the construction and operations, ESB produced a series of educational films between 1972 and 1974. All these films are now available to view online. See below.

Peak Power – 22 minute film narrated by Eamonn Andrews produced when the station opened in 1974. It provides a general overview.

Peak Power – The Workers’ Story – 18 minute film which looks at the construction of the site through the accounts of the workers.

Pumped Power  – 30 minuted film which looks at the electrical and mechanical aspects.

Levels of Power-30 minute film which looks at the civil engineering aspects.

Peak Power

This 22 minute film was produced following the completion of the Turlough Hill project in 1974.

The function of the station’s pumped storage system is explained and the civil works construction of the project is described in detail.
It also provides a comprehensive overview of the story of Turlough Hill and explains the significance of this monumental project. Narrated by Eamonn Andrews, the film features breathtaking overhead footage of the reservoir and the cavity in the mountain top that was later to become a man-made lake. It takes the viewer on a tour of the tunnels and the cavernous power-house deep in the centre of the mountain. The many logistical and engineering challenges which arose during this mammoth project are highlighted and explained to provide an insight into the sheer scale of the works undertaken.

Peak Power – The Workers’ Story

The “Workers Story” film documents the construction progress of the Turlough Hill project through the accounts of some of the people who worked on its construction.

Participants include Sean Tinney, Director of Generation/Transmission, Mr Brendan Brennan, Resident Superintendent of the Site, Anthony Murphy, Chief Civil Engineer, Jan Widlund, K.MW. Company, Sweden, Mr. Greg Rogers, the Official Site Guide and Mr. J.J. Driver who worked on the project since its early days.

The film, photographed and directed by George Fleischmann and scripted by Micheal Colley, ESB Public Relations Officer, was premiered to the public in the Savoy Cinema, Dublin in August 1973 at a screening of the film “Sleuth”, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

Pumped Power

This 30 minute technical film from 1974 details the electrical and mechanical workings of Turlough Hill’s Pumped Power Storage Scheme. It explains the advantages of the Pumped Storage Scheme in providing additional supply to the national system. It features informative commentary and detailed animations to explain the highly technical aspects of the operations on the site.

Levels of Power

This 30 minute technical film  from 1974 explains in detail the civil engineering aspects of Turlough Hill. It describes how it provides extra power to the national system when it is most needed. The film features a series of technical graphs and animations illustrate the complex design.


Click the images/links below to open the PR pamphlets

Original Turlough Hill PR Pamphlet

Original 1970’s Turlough Hill PR Pamphlet

Turlough Hill 40th Anniversary Brochure - 2014

Turlough Hill 40th Anniversary Brochure – 2014

2014 infographic

2014 infographic

Please click link below

Turlough Hill Hydro Electric Power Station from book “A Heritage Inventory of ESB Buildings in Ireland”



  1. Hi! We are a group of students of mechanical engineering from Spain. We have select this power station to do a research. We want to know the type of turbines, we know that is a pump-storage power station so we supose that is a Francis turbine or similiar, isn’t it?
    Thanks for the information.

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