Norway is built, literarily speaking, by hydroelectric power, and our economic growth and progress is very much connected to the building of power stations. Norway has 1550 hydropower plants, which in total makes up 96 % of total Norwegian power production. Furthermore,Norway has more than 1000 hydropower storage reservoirs with a total capacity of more than 84 TWh, which corresponds to 70 % of annual Norwegian electricity consumption. Suldal is home to Norway's largest hydropower reservoir. The development of this reservoir and its power stations started in the 1960s, and changed the small farming community in Suldal forever.
The development got the name Ulla-Førre and was Northern-Europe’s largest development project and presented many challenges. More than 20 large and small dams where constructed, approximately 40 brook inlets, 100 km new roads constructed to carry heavy construction plant traffic and more than 100 km of tunnels and shafts. The construction work ommenced during the autumn of 1974, and was finished in 1988. At the peak of activities 1550 people were working on the construction.
1000-1100 meters above sea level lie anumber of mountain lakes that have been regulated to one large reservoir using more than 10 large and small dams. This is Bjåsjø, Norway’s largest energy reservoir. When the reservoir is full it holds in the region of 7.8 TWh.
The lake is accessible during the summer months, when the snow has disappeared from the roads. A visit to the area gives you magnificent views and a deep understanding of how massive the developmentis are. The trip is perfect to combine with a mountain hike or cycling on the mountain roads that was constructued as a part of the Ulla-Førre development.
Contact the tourist information for the latest update on when the road will open for the summer.
Hylen Hydroelectric Power Station
There are 5 key power/pumping stations connected to the Ulla-Førre operations. One of these stations are Hylen, and is located in the tiny village with the same name. A visit to the area is perfect for those who want to take a quiet walk in the quiet Suldal mountains, whilst having a look at the power station building set into the mountains. Hylen can also be combined with fishing in the fjord and a hike to Hylskardet.
Architecural power design in Nesflaten
Geir Grung(1926-1989) designed the hydro power station, which opened in 1965, housing, and the hotel, Energihotellet, which is located beside the hydropower development plant in Røldal-Suldal. The area is one of the best-preserved examples of functionalistic style in Norway. Park your car at Energihotellet and take a stroll down the power station and residential area. For more nformation or questions about the architecture, contact Energihotellet.
The regulated river Suldalslågen
Such amassive development as Ulla-Førre meant that big environmental and landscaping requirements had to be taken into consideration, especially with considerationto the salmon river Suldalslågen and how the changes in the water streams would affect their spawning cycles. The development put a lot of attention to how the project could have as little affect to the nature of Suldal as possible, and a visit to the Salmon Studio in Sand can provide a lot of the historical decisions that were made.
The Salmon Studio is open during summer and early autumn.