On Tuesday, May 23rd, pupils from 3rd and 4th visited Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Power Station.This was a free tour of the plant to mark ESBs 90th anniversary.
This power plant opened in 1929. It took four years to build by the German company Siemens Schuckertwerke and 5,000 workers at a cost of 5 million pounds. Ardnacrusha remains one of Ireland's greatest engineering developments. When built it provided enough energy to meet the demands of the entire country. Today Ardnacrusha provides 2 per cent of our electricity needs, such has been the country’s development in the meantime. Today it would take a hydro electric power station at least 50 times the size of Ardnacrusha to meet current peak demand in Ireland.
Water is diverted from the river Shannon at Parteen Weir. It flows along a 12 km long headrace or canal to Ardnacrusha station. There it meets a 30 metre high dam. Four huge penstocks (large, cylindrical steel structures) feed water from the headrace or canal to the four turbines at the foot of the dam. Each penstock is 41m long and can deliver around 100 tonnes of water per second. The four turbines are still in operation supplying enough renewable electricity for about 70,000 homes. Water emerging from the station travels down a tailrace canal and rejoins the river Shannon. Ardnacrusha also includes a navigation lock to let boats through and a fish pass.
At the time of completion in 1929, it was the largest hydro electric station in the world.
Free public tours are ?available from July 1 to August 31 2017 and can be booked by clicking here.