Every year new employees in Statkraft are sent on an introduction trip to visit a hydro power plant and learn about Statkraft’s long history in Norway. The trip includes a large dose of beautiful Norwegian nature, a long bus ride, and the chance to get to know colleagues from around the company. On the 1st of June it was finally my turn. I travelled from my current rotation in Düsseldorf to the headquarters in Oslo with a fully packed bag, containing everything from bikini to protective clothing, not quite knowing what to expect. Ahead of me lied a little adventure…
The destination was Sima power plant in Eidfjord, on the far other side of Norway. Due to the hilly landscape and twisting roads, it takes a while with the bus – there is no Autobahn in Norway… But the ride actually went really fast. We had several breaks along the way to stretch our legs, watch the scenery and have lunch. At the bus along the way we also presented ourselves to each other, a great way to get to know each other better.
Arriving at Sima, we were greeted by Øyvind Salbu, the person responsible for guests and visitors at Sima Power plant. He lead us through the 700 m long tunnel leading into the very deep of the mountain, where the plant is located. Here we got to see the different components in action. Luckily (for us), one of the turbines were recently damaged and we thus got to see it close up and even peek into the chamber. These turbines are the largest Pelton turbines in the world – out of nominal power (just look at that impressive large wheel on the picture!), and weigh about 37 tons. The four installed turbines together make this the 2nd largest power plant in Norway.
Afterwards we continued to Hotel Ullensvang, a lovely hotel in the most beautiful surroundings, which was going to be our home for the night. Fortunately, we arrived a little early, and thus we had time for a swim before dinner. The pool was extended outdoors, where we could swim along the fjord. Followed by a dip in the jacuzzi and then we were ready for dinner. The hotel director Utne greeted us with an entertaining story about the hotels impressive history, of the 4 generation family hotel, where famous painters like Tidemand and Gude, and composers like Edvard Grieg, often visited to be inspired. Now they welcome guests from more than 65 different nations. The long and eventful day was ended with a lovely dinner, harp music and an entertaining Belarusian band.
The next day some of us started with a swim in the pool, a dip in the fjord or a run up in the mountain hills – before breakfast. We would all love to stay longer, but unfortunately we had to hurry before the road was closed (there are a lot of construction works here). Next stop was the old Tyssedal power plant, which now is protected and out of operation, but still used as a museum. We were given a tour by an engaging guide at the museum, who told us about the history of the plant, from the very beginning of the construction works back in 1906. With its 100 MW installed power it once accounted for about 10 % of Norway’s power production.
After lunch at Tyssedal hotel it was time to turn our noses east towards Oslo. Soon we came by a great waterfall, where the water steam filled the air and showered everyone who came too close. Refreshing!
Back at the headquarter it was time to say good bye and go “home” to my rotation in Düsseldorf. Now richer on new friends, good memories and history. Thank you for a great trip and a 2-days adventure.