This is 2022’s first roadtrip abroad! It happened in late January – after a long bout of border restrictions due to the omicron virusvariant. We started near – jumped over the border to Sweden to do some grocery shopping. On the way, we stopped by the huge Solbergfoss Hydroelectric power plant in Askim, located on the 621-km river Glomma – the longest river in Norway. To be honest, it was the first time we learned about the power station, which is considered a cultural memorial site in norwegian power production (Visit Norway, 2021).
The weather was cold and icy, but the husband driver was careful and kept us safe during the ride. We left early to avoid traffic (which I find to be rare on weekend mornings anyway). One of my favorite things during road trips are drivethrus! As of the moment, our choices are mainly the old time favorites – McDonald’s, Burger King, and Max Hamburgers (Swedish chain). I love ordering frappes to completely wake my senses up, and a snack or two. It was in the midst of winter, but I had my chocolate frappe nevertheless!
Then, we arrived at Solberfoss kraftverk (power station). The parking lot turned into a skating rink, so we parked on a spot on the roadside by the woods instead. The plan was just to take a couple of pictures anyway. Well, we were supposed to continue down the road across the power station, but it was closed. Traveling in winter requires more flexibility than what is planned, I guess.
According to Visit Norway, the building of the power station was started in 1913. Before then, no one had had experience in the construction of such big power stations, so they had to first make a 1:25 scale model placed outside Oslo to see if it was feasible and if it would actually work. Cool, huh?
Bredo Greve was the architect who designed the enormous project. 800 men were working in the construction site at the same time, such that when it was done, it became a monumental event. We have visited hydropower plants in Norway and Sweden, and it is easy to say that Solberfoss has its own charm which lures hobby photographers towards it.
It would be very interesting to see the interior, but it seemed like the building was closed so early in the morning, if it was even open to visitors on that day. So we just tried to satisfy ourselved with a short walk from a distance, and learning more about the station through posters by the gate.
It seems to me that Norway is fond of the name “Solberg”, which can directly be translated as sun (sol) + hill/mountain (berg). In Drammen, there is a village named Solbergelva, whose name was derived from the stream (elv) in the locality. Well, it was also located by the mountain Solbergfjellet, a nature reserve. The word mountain is fjell in norwegian. I don’t know.. I just find it cool how the names of places are so influenced by the nature in it. Or I’m just an etymology-enthusiast. 😛
Back to the the power station: It uses 13 vertical francis water turbines, which works for drop heights of 11-21.5 meters. It has a total annual production of about 350 GWh. At present, the station is operated and owned by E-CO Vannkraft (Hydropower). More information (in norwegian) can be found here: https://snl.no/Solbergfoss_I_kraftverk.
Winter used to be an exciting season for me, but after almost 7 years in Norway, I’m starting to despise it. 😛 Vitamin D deficiency, gloomy ambiance that affects the mood, slippery roads and wet, slushy grounds on occasion when there’s no snow… Need I say more?
Afterwards, we continued to the trip to Sweden. In late January, testing and showing of coronapassport were back, after a few months of hassle-free border crossing pre-omicron. There was a long queue at the testing station going back to Norway, but it was okay. Two weeks later, in mid-February (February 12th, to be exact), restrictions related to covid-19 were removed. And we rejoiced with the next roadtrip..