A Rare Look Deep Inside An Old-Fashioned Hydroelectric Power Plant

A Rare Look Deep Inside An Old-Fashioned Hydroelectric Power Plant
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

As a long-time fan of industrial aesthetics, I always look for the chance to get inside any building where roaring machines, buzzing wires, crackling pipe and chaotic control rooms sit waiting to be explored and photographed — like this 99-year-old Art Deco power plant or this 70-year-old Bauhaus sewage pumping building.

I visited Hungary’s Tiszalök Barrage and Power Plant during the main maintenance of the plant’s turbines and generators, and embraced the opportunity to look deep inside the 60-year-old Hungarian run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant. Thanks to the maintenance, I could walk not only in the main hall, but in the large pipe (the penstock) — which delivers water to the turbines — and inside the bays of the water turbines under water level.

The Tiszalök Barrage was primarily planned to provide water for irrigation of the Great Hungarian Plain, and plans were later developed in order to supply drinking water, improve the navigational conditions of the River Tisza, and create the possibility of water energy production. The barrage was completed 1954, the ship lock in 1958, and the hydro-electric power station started producing electricity of 54 GWh/year in 1959. The weir has three bays; each is 37m wide, with the power station located in the bay on the left side. The station discharge capacity is 300 m3/s used by the three, 4.8m diameter vertical saft Kaplan turbines — with a discharge capacity of 100 m3/s each.

The main building is a fine example of Socialist Realism in architecture, and art. And look at the interior! It is almost magical — as though we’re still in the 1950s, and most of the the machines, the controls, and the gauges are original and in a very good shape. I hope the following set of photos will show the electrifying beauty of this little industrial gem.