Is this hydroelectricity scheme the world’s most beautiful power plant?

Norway, a country that already generates 80% of its electricity from hydropower, has added to its renewables repertoire with an eye-catching wooden-clad 30GWh plant, designed to educate hikers from across the world about green power production.

Øvre Forsland power station, situated within the mountains of Helgeland just below the Arctic Circle, will supply power to 1600 local homes. It has been designed to be inspired by and reflect the landscape, whilst also functioning as an attraction for hikers.

Visitors can experience the production of hydraulic electricity at various points throughout the process. From a nearby bridge, the water flow that drives the turbines can be seen emerging from the station and the inner workings of the plant are exposed through an opening, which reveals the light design of the interior – inspired by the mystery of the Northern Lights.

The team from Stein Hamre arkitektkontor, which designed the plant, said: “The main inspiration for the design was the verticality and the irregularity of the spruce trees. The Kebony wood will acquire a grey patina gradually over time as it interacts with the elements. The durability and low-maintenance of the wood lends itself to remote locations.”

GALLERY: Øvre Forsland power plant

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(Photos: Bjørn Leirvik) 

Along with extensive use of stone, slate and glass on the exterior of the building, ‘Kebony’ wood is used in the building’s cladding. The Norwegian wood is produced by using sustainably sourced soft wood species which are impregnated with a non-chemical bio-based product and heated under pressure, resulting in a highly durable and maintenance free product. As such, Kebony diverts demand away from endangered tropical forests. 

This is the latest in a line of eye-catching renewable energy power plants to be made live in 2015. At the beginning of the year, an extraordinary 2GW heart-shaped solar farm was built on the Pacific island of New Caledonia, providing enough electricity to power 750 homes.

Luke Nicholls

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