Our history, our people and our principles
History of the ESB
Electricity in Ireland
In the 19th century, the electrical revolution which was sweeping the rest of the developed world looked set to bypass Ireland. Only a few selected locations around the country had this incredible new power source 'on tap'. But thanks to the determination of a handful of far-sighted people, electricity was soon to take its first tentative steps towards becoming the ubiquitous and indispensable power source it has proved to be.
Evolution of the ESB
1901 - Hydro electric power first discussed.
No action is taken on the proposed project.
1903 - Power station built at the Pigeon House for Dublin Corporation's Electricity Department.
The original building still stands, now modernised and re-equipped, a very small but historic part of the electricity generating and supply system of the Electricity Supply Board in the early years.
1915 - Investigation into the generation of electricity from the Shannon.
Theodore Stevens, a Civil Engineer investigated the possibility of generating electricity from the Shannon on behalf of the Irish Hydro-Electric Syndicate. This project, like an earlier one in 1901, was not developed.
1918 - More discussions on hydro electric power
Again, no action is taken.
1922 - Foundation of the Irish state.
It becomes clear that to progress industrially, it would have to develop and use its natural resources. An Irish engineer, Dr. Thomas A. McLoughlin proposed damming the River Shannon and building an electric power station at Ardnacrusha, a few miles from Limerick, which would bring power to cities and towns.
1925 - Electric power station at Ardnacrusha, Co. Clare approved
The Ardnacrusha scheme was approved by the Government and work began in September, 1925.
1927 - Electricity Supply Board established
The Electricity Supply Board Act was passed in 1927 to set up the Electricity Supply Board, a corporate body to control and develop Ireland's electricity network.
1937 - Liffey scheme approved
The scheme allowed the river Liffey to be used for water storage for the power stations at Poulaphouca, Golden Falls and Leixlip. Its success led to further development of the country's hydro electric power capabilities.
1968 - Turlough Hill construction began
Work started on Turlough Hill, a pumped storage hydro-electric station and was completed by 1974.
1980s - Aghada Power station in Cork began producing electricity
The station was first commissioned in 1980 at a cost of IR£100 million. In April 2010, the capacity of the station was increased when a new state-of-the-art 435MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine entered commercial operation.
1987 - Moneypoint generating station commissioned by ESB
Moneypoint, one of the largest generating stations in Ireland located near Kilrush, Co Clare, is commissioned in June 1987. Moneypoint underwent a major Environmental Retrofit, completed in 2010, to ensure it complies with stringent EU coal regulations for coal burning stations.
2000 - Poolbeg
In 2000, Poolbeg Generating Station was converted to a combined cycle operation along with two waste heat recovery boilers and a 170MW steam turbine. This brought the station's thermal efficiency to over 52% and overall output to 980MW. In March of 2010, Poolbeg Units 1, 2 and 3 were retired, leaving the stationís maximum output at 470MW.
2004 - Lough Ree Power
2004 saw the addition of a new 100MW milled peat burning station to ESBís generating portfolio. Lough Ree Power, located at Lanesborough in Co. Longford, comprises a circulating fluidized bed boiler and turbine, and is the third largest peat-fired power station in the country. The station has a 15-year contract to burn peat supplied by Bord na Mona.
2004 - West Offaly Power
In the same year, West Offaly Power was also added to the ESBís generating fleet. This station, located at Shannonbridge in Co. Offaly, also uses modern fluidised bed technology to burn peat and has an output of 150MW.
2010 - Moneypoint
After operating for over a decade, ESB made a major investment in emissions abatement equipment at its 915MW coal-fired station at Moneypoint in Co. Clare. This new technology has brought about a reduction of the order of up to 85% NOx and 90% SOx emissions.
2010 - Aghada
In April 2010, the capacity of Aghada Power Station increased to 963MW when a new state-of-the-art 435MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine entered commercial operation. The gas-fired plant is one of the most efficient and cleanest plants in Europe and generates enough electricity to supply approximately 8% of power demand in the Single Electricity Market. Aghada Generating Station is also the only power station which serves all three market segments of baseload, mid-merit and peaking demand.