Stories

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

The Glomfjord power plant sits at the head of Glomfjorden in Meløy municipality in Nordland county. The cathedral-like building was designed by architect Olaf Nordhagen, and the construction materials were transported over the mountains by migrant workers. On the other side of the fjord lies the industrial town of Glomfjord.

A long term relationship

The Glomfjord power plant stands like a monument to Norway's energy success story that began more than 100 years ago.

For the tidy sum of NOK 120, the local sheriff and the church cantor in Meløy bought the waterfall rights to the Fykanaga River in Glomfjord in 1898. Interest in hydropower development had grown quickly after the Norwegian state acquired its first waterfall, Paulenfossen in Vest-Agder county, in 1895.

Eventually, the state also got involved in Glomfjord and bought not only the power plant, but the whole industrial town that Glomfjord Corporation planned to establish.

"The plant laid the foundation for the growth of the industrial municipality of Meloy. There was nothing here in Glomfjord before the power plant was built, and the local community is still very dependent on power as well as on water from us," explains power plant manager Karl Svein Thorrud.

The monumental and religiously inspired design of the first Norwegian power plants says something about how important they were in their time. The Glomfjord power plant was designed by Olaf Nordhagen, who was also the architect behind the beautiful Vemork plant at Rjukan and the restoration of the famous Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

The cathedral-like building at the head of Glomfjorden has housed six generators, but today only one of them is still in operation. Two remain as historical monuments, while three have been removed.

"We tore out about 900 tonnes of steel and were left with huge craters in the floor," says Thorrud.

Not only is Glomfjord one of the oldest power plants Statkraft operates – a brand new power plant has been opened inside the same enormous building.
Svein Thorrud

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

Power plant manager Karl Svein Thorrud came to Glomfjord in connection with the construction of the Svartisen power plant in 1990. There he met a local girl and settled down in Glomfjord. Today he manages the Glomfjord, Neverdalsåga, Fykanvatnet and Svartisen power plants.

New plant inside the old

Inside the giant machine room, where one of the decommissioned generators once stood, Statkraft's newest power plant, Fykanvatnet has been established.

"It opened officially last year but has been in operation since 2013," says Thorrud. "It is a separate power plant because it gets its water from Fykanvatnet, while the old generator uses Nedre Naver as its reservoir."

What both power plants have in common is that the water is put to work twice.

"First we produce electricity, and then the water is pumped into the world's largest salmon hatchery, owned by Marine Harvest and located here in Glomfjord."

The power plant and the small community at the head of Glomfjorden still rely on each other.

Text: Sissel Fantoft
Photo: Jimmy Linus
Also published in Statkraft's magazine People & Power no. 1/2015

Scroll down to view more photos.

Old archive photo

Ole W. Lund was one of the founders who began construction of the Glomfjord power plant in 1912. His son Bernt Lund was operations manager here for his entire working life, as well as a keen amateur photographer. Here he is seen looking over the Glomfjord fjord during the construction of the pipe trench. The picture was taken either by his wife Astrid or with the help of a self-timer device.

War monument

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

During the war the Germans decided to expand the plant, but Operation Musketoon put a stop to this in 1942 when two Norwegian and 10 British saboteurs blew up the pipe trenches and generators. Seven of the saboteurs were captured by the Germans and later executed in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. A monument stands outside the power plant today commemorating the heroic efforts of the saboteurs.

Inside the machine hall

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

Operator Terje Brandt inside the machine room. The two generators at the back are no longer in use, but the middle one produces power from the Nedre Naver intake reservoir. The generator in front is the separate Fykanvatnet power plant which has been operating since 2013.

Inside the power plant

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

Inside the machine hall at the Glomfjord power station.

Glomfjord pipelines

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

The construction of the Glomfjord power plant was extremely hard work, not hard to imagine when you see the long pipelines that bring water down from the reservoier to the power-generating turbines.

Cable car

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

Initially, workers had to walk up the steep mountainside behind the Glomfjord plant to reach the intake reservoir. Cable cars were gradually built, the first of which consisted of a simple plank to which the workers had to tie themselves. These were later replaced by the more modern version shown in the picture.

Glomfjord by night

Location: Glomfjord, Norway

Photographer: Jimmy Linus

Glomfjord is an energy success story. Today, one of Norway's oldest operating power plants also houses one of Norway's newest.

24. Mar. 2015