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Jakob Ehrensvärd | profile | all galleries >> Industries of the past >> The abandoned hydropower station tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The abandoned hydropower station

In Sweden, electrification of the country started early. In the cities, steam powered DC power stations provided electricity for lighting purposes already in 1880s. With the invention of the three-phase AC system, hydropower power stations located remotely became technically feasible and the first large scale transmission line for industrial use was opened in 1893. Over the coming twenty years, hundreds of megawatts of large scale hydroelectric power was built.

No national grid yet existed and the countryside was still lit by candles and kerosene lamps. In the early 1900s, a large number of small-scale local grids were built, typically around a small hydropower station. Often, power was seasonal as there was not enough water available for year-around use. The main usage for electricity was still for lighting only and the billing was often done per connected lamp rather than per kilowatt hour.

After WWII, the creation of nation-wide grid and a massive buildup of capacity made these small grids and power stations obsolete. They were either scrapped or modernized and today, thousands of small power stations create a fair amount of the supply.

But – there are exceptions. This amazing relic from the early 1920s was apparently never modernized and it seems like it faded away in the late 1950s. The capacity, a guess around 50 kW or so, was simply too low to make a modernization worthwhile. Given that the capacity was most likely limted by the amount of water available, this alone probably was the determining factor. It is however strange that the installation was not demolished or the equipment being taken out where the supply wooden tube apparently was taken away.

This church-like building is really located remotely and getting there during summertime was a bit of a challenge. It is really embedded by Mother Nature and when opening the door, one immediately gets the intense feeling that the time has stopped. Walking around and watching the intact equipment is fantastic. One can just hope it will stay another fifty years at least.
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