Monday 20 November 2017

At a loose end? Take a tour of ESB power plant celebrating its 40th birthday

ESB Power plant Turlough Hill
ESB Power plant Turlough Hill

Anita McSorley

Members of the public will be able to take a tour of one of the country's biggest power plants as it marks it's 40th anniversary.

Turlough Hill is celebrating by inviting guests to take a free tour of the hydroelectric storage station this summer.

The hour-long tour will bring visitors through Turlough Hill’s exhibition centre, describing the history behind the generation of electricity.

Visitors will also travel almost 3km on a walk through the tunnel to view the generating plant and Hydro Control Centre, from where all of the country’s 10 hydro stations are controlled.

Set in the Wicklow mountains, near Glendalough, the first and only hydroelectric storage system in Ireland officially opened in 1974 after a six year period of construction.

The ambitious feat of engineering, located 500m inside the hill itself, can generate up to 292MW of electricity during peak periods by releasing water from its upper reservoir and allowing it to flow through its four turbines into a lower reservoir. During periods of lower demand, the water is pumped back to the upper reservoir ready to be used again.

The station, which runs all year round, can stay at full power for around five hours. It does this by opening sluice gates allowing up to 2.3 billion litres of water to drop through the pipe work inside the mountain and hitting turbines at a depth of 300m.

Turlough Hill was built by the ESB using a range of contractors including Irish company Public Works Ltd and German multinational Siemens, which provided the equipment.

A private concert will be held inside the mountain on Thursday evening to mark the 40th anniversary.

For everyone else, guided tours are available every Tuesday to Friday until September from 9am until 3.30pm.

There will also be two “open weekends” held on Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th and on Saturday, August 9th and Sunday, August 10th.

Those in groups of 10 or more are advised to book on the website at free

Irish Independent

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