It was in
the 18th century that the path to the everyday use of electrical power began to
take place. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin did his famous experiment by tying a key
to the end of a kite during a thunderstorm. He received an electric shock from
the sting the key was tied to as the key was hit by lightning. He was not
seriously injured. He proved that lightning was a form of electricity. In the following hundred years, many
inventors tried to find a way to use electrical power. In 1879, the American
inventor Thomas Edison was finally able to produce a long-lasting electric
light bulb. By the end
of the 1880s, small electrical stations based on Edison’s designs were in a
number of U.S. cities. But each station was able to power only a few city
the first use of electricity was lighting. In 1877 arc lamps were used to light
up a construction site in Dublin. The Guinness Brewery used this electricity to
build its extension. The light made it more convenient for the workers as they
could work after the sunset.
In 1925, if
Ireland wants to progress industrially, it must recognise the need to use and
develop its natural resources. Irish engineer by the name of Dr.Thomas A.
McLaughlin, suggests building a dam on the river Shannon. He wants to build an
electric power station at Ardnacrusha in Co Clare to bring power to towns and
cities all around Ireland. The Irish Government agree on the proposal of the
power station and work began on the site in September 1925.
In 1927 the
Electricity Supply Board Act was passed to set up the ESB, the company
responsible for controlling and developing Ireland’s electricity network.
Around this time there were more than 300 different suppliers. These suppliers
were concerned with generating and supplying electricity in different parts of
the country. The transfer of responsibilities from these few hundred suppliers
to the ESB required both engineering and administrative skills. The huge
development of these skills meant a great deal to the ESB as that is why they
became such a success.
until 1946 that the beginning of rural Electrification began to take place.
This project involved the installation of electric infrastructure to power
Ireland’s people. This would supply energy, light and heat to help improve the
quality of life. These networks and the power supplied to everyone enabled the
social, economic and industrial development in Ireland. It helped it grow from
an underdeveloped region to one of the most developed countries in the world.
The ESB Networks still continue to work hard on the Irish electricity
infrastructure to sustain a high standard.
In the years
1950 throughout until the late 1960s the ESB installed a great amount of its
generating capacity on just the use of turf. Turf was a valuable component for
the ESB as at one time it constituted one third of the ESB’s total capacity.
Peat development had a great impact on rural development during these years,
especially in the midlands.