2017 marks 90 years since the creation of the Electricity Supply Board in Ireland, a state-owned company created to manage country’s overall supply of the electricity. This was a direct result of a huge undertaking that was the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Scheme on river Shannon in county Clare.
Despite the claims that it was the world’s first electrification scheme (3.4.1) – let’s award this title to Soviet political V.I. Lenin’s testament: the GOELRO national electrification plan of 1920 – this was the cutting edge world technology employed in rural Ireland. The scheme was widely published in the newspapers around the world at the time.
The construction that took only 4 years from start to becoming fully operational in 1929 at the cost of £5 000 000 (about a quarter of the annual budget of Ireland).
While the power station today is not as important in the overall production of electricity (only around 2% of the national requirement is generated by Ardnacrusha, as opposed to nearly 100% in 1929), despite its age it’s still a viable and sustainable source of electricity.
To mark the anniversary – for July and August in 2017 ESB is offering free guided tours of the power station to all interested in the scheme. It would be a hugely missed opportunity, so the trip to the countryside was necessary.