If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.Terry Pratchett
Photos from 1891 might not appear the obvious place to start explaining what is likely to become a key enabling technology of the 21st century, the Virtual Power Plant (VPP), but a quick look back at the transformation that started at the end of the 19th century with the invention of electricity generators and electric street lighting provides a useful perspective on what lies ahead.
Our lives were transformed when access to electricity became widespread. And it’s a little known fact that Ireland’s first town to introduce this wonderful new technology was Carlow. The history is well worth a read.
Fast forward to my home town in 1934 (see insert below), there were two independent electricity companies that generated electricity, mostly from oil, and sold it to local businesses. With the development of the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme and the creation of the ESB, the ESB acquired the exclusive license to generate and supply the electricity in Ireland, reflecting the very significant investment required to achieve urban and rural electrification.
Time to get a wiggle on! Why not find out now how much you could save when you turn on your new solar panel system at home: