independent

Friday 24 October 2014

Turlough Hill plant opens up to public

Myles Buchanan

Published 11/06/2014 | 05:22

Pupils of Scoil Chaoimhín Naofa, Glendalough, and the Turlough Hill Tour Guides outside the tunnel.

The Turlough Hill pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant is opening for public tours this summer, to mark the 40th anniversary of the commissioning of the station, which located in the Wicklow Mountains near Glendalough.

The Turlough Hill pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant is opening for public tours this summer, to mark the 40th anniversary of the commissioning of the station, which located in the Wicklow Mountains near Glendalough.

Guided tours are available every Tuesday to Friday during June, July and August at 10 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. Booking is essential, and you can reserve your place for these tours at www.esb.ie/turloughhill

There will also be special weekend tours on Saturday and Sunday July 12 and 13, and again on Saturday and Sunday August 9 and 10, at both 10 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. on all those dates. No booking is required for those weekend tours.

The Turlough Hill plant is owned and operated by ESB. Its construction began in 1968 and it was completed six years later. The main station is buried inside the mountain and can generate up to 292 megawatts of electricity at times of peak demand. It can also go from standstill to full capacity in only 70 seconds.

A pumped storage system allows for the use of excess electricity capacity during non-peak hours to pump water from the lower to the upper Lake at Turlough Hill and then to release water in the reverse direction to create electricity in times of maximum demand.

With a pumped storage system, extra electricity is available immediately unlike a conventional oil or gas generating station.

Visitors can look forward to guided tours through Turlough Hill's exhibition centre and the history behind the facility. Guests will also walk through the 1.5km tunnel to view the generating plant and Hydro Control Centre, from where all the country's 10 hydro stations are controlled.

Dave Sexton, Station Manager, believes the public should find the tours of great interest.

'Turlough Hill plays a significant role in the social and economic history of Ireland and remains hugely important in terms of both environmental engineering and energy supply.

ESB recognises the 40th anniversary as a very fitting time to open the station to tours so that the public can see this amazing facility for themselves.'

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