Checking out Statkraft’s reservoirs in the winter

This February some dedicated young Statkraft employees, mostly current and former trainees, organized a weekend trip to Vamark in Telemark, which is one of Statkraft’s many cabins in southern Norway.  Our goal? To enjoy the great skiing conditions and have fun.

I also used the opportunity to learn more about Statkraft’s assets in the area.  

Reading Statkraft history
Whilst the others were preparing Sunday breakfast, I was reading up on Statkraft’s history

Nowadays, Statkraft employees can enjoy several company cabins which are located close to Statkraft’s hydropower plants in picturesque nature surrounded by great hiking areas. What makes these cabins special is the fact that they were originally built for housing construction workers whilst building the large reservoirs and hydropower plants back in the day. Now they have been turned into cabins that are used for employees on and off the job.

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We enjoyed the open fire outside Statkraft’s cabin at Vamark

The Vamark cabin was originally built to host workers during the construction of the Tokke-Vinje watercourse in the 1960s. At that time, it was the largest hydropower project in Norway. The project cost over 900 MNOK (13 BNOK in 2017) and Norway was granted loans from the World Bank in order to finance it. Today, the Tokke-Vinje watercourse consists of 32 dams and eight power plants which produce 4.4 TWh. This is enough energy to serve about 200.000 Norwegian households (equal to approximately 800.000 British households). Read more about the watercourse here.

When the Vamark cabin was built in the 1960s, the area looked something like this:

Dam builiding - Tokke
Dam construction for the Tokke hydropower plant, 1950-60s
Statsminister Einar Gerhardsen taler ved åpningen av Tokke kraftverk i 1961
The Tokke hydropower station in Telemark, which was opened in 1961 by Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen, was Norway’s largest at the time

Since then the Tokke-Vinje watercourse has been in operation and has enabled clean power production for more than 50 years. Additionally, there are great skiing and hiking opportunities in the area. Combined with stable cold weather, the area provides perfect conditions for Norwegians’ nr.1 winter activity – cross country skiing. With clear blue skies, minus ten degrees celsius (blue swix) and fresh snow, the conditions could not have been better this weekend. On Saturday, we went to the ski metropole Hovden and on Sunday we went skiing straight from the cabin door.

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Here, I am at Vatjern which is the intake reservoir for the Haukeli power station. Despite very cold weathers, reservoirs like this seldom freeze due to all the movement in the water and the highest density of water occurring at 4 degrees.

As Sara, Agnethe and Beate have written about in previous blog posts, a lot of old hydropower plants in Norway will need to undergo large refurbishments in the next decade. The Tokke-Vinje watercourse is no exception. During last year’s cabin trip (link) to Vamark we visited the Songa dam, where a large refurbishment project will be undertaken from 2018. This year we went cross-country skiing around the smaller reservoirs, and who knows what the “scope”  of our next trip will be?

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The Langeidvatn reservoir is just next to Statkraft’s cabin at Vamark
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Today, we are glad that the Statkraft cabins are not only at the center of the catchment areas but also provide amazing ski opportunities!
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We could go on forever! (But need to be back for work on Monday..)


Sources/read more: Skienvassdraget , Statkraft 

 

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