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ESB Pumped Storage Station Turlough Hill

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Turlough Hill, Glendalough, Wicklow, Republic of Ireland

Turlough Hill is Ireland's only pumped storage power station, and is also the Hydro Control Centre for ESB's 10 hydro stations. The station was commissioned in 1974 and took 6 years to build.

Turlough Hill station generates up to 292MW during peak demand by releasing water from its upper reservoir and allowing it to flow through its four turbines into a lower reservoir. Nothing of this scale had been built in Ireland since the Shannon Scheme in the 1920's and involved carving a massive underground chamber in the granite mountain to house the main station so that it would be hidden from view - similar to the space in a medium-sized cathedral. 2.5 million tonnes of rock were excavated to build the upper lake which was lined with asphaltic concrete.

Visitors can avail of hour long tours which take in a Visitor Centre giving background information to the construction as and how it operates as well as general information on the area where it is located. They can walk down the massive tunnel to where the power station itself is housed in the cavern. The station is a prime example of ESB's renewal and sustainable plant and it is from here also that ESB's other 10 hydro stations on the Shannon, Liffey, Lee, Erne and Clady are controlled.

In 2014 Turlough Hill celebrates its 40th Anniversary. See for further information on Turlough Hill and on tours of the plant. Booking is essential.