The 18th of November was a special day in Vang.
VANG: Especially because this was the date when the new road tunnel through Kvamskleiva, the Hugavik Tunnel, was opened for traffic.
And on the same day, a few kilometres away, another small-scale power plant in Vang began its operations. On 18 November, the Rysna small-scale power plant began its production, initially as a trial production until spring.
The official inauguration, combined with some festivities for those involved, will come in the spring. This was a promise made by David Inge Tveito, director of all power plant production at Småkraft, which now has 218 small-scale plants in Norway and Sweden.
“Yes, we at Småkraft AS enjoy having inauguration parties with the landowners and others involved in the project. No date has been set, but there will be a celebration in the spring,” says Tveito, who works at Småkraft’s main office in Bergen.
Tveito says that they are very satisfied with the implementation. The construction process has gone as planned.
Rysna is a turnkey project managed by the contracting company Hywer AS. This company was formerly known as Brødrene Dahl Vasskraft AS.
Hywer AS has in turn engaged various subcontractors who have been responsible for the work in the field, building the penstocks, erecting the power station building, and completing the rest of the infrastructure related to the plant, which involves a great deal of high technology.
The newspaper learned that a number of local suppliers were also used.
Hywer AS engaged several subcontractors, including Kraftentreprenøren AS and Stein Arne Sunde AS. These are located in Skeid.
Excavators from this company were used during the construction phase. EnergiTeknikk AS supplied the complete electromechanical installations, and Vang Energiverk, a local company, built a new grid station.
The power station building was built right by the river down the hill from the Sygard Belsheim farm, and on the farm property.
Four plants in Valdres
Rysna will be the fourth power plant developed by Småkraft AS in Valdres, following Reinli, Liaelva and Hølera, all in Sør-Aurdal municipality, and with the addition of Rysna, Vang municipality will also be included in the portfolio.
“We are very pleased to finally reach the end of this project. Everyone from the various suppliers who have been involved have done excellent work. Now the power plant will have a so-called trial run until spring, and we can hopefully begin normal operations after that point,” says Tveito.
Daily inspections of the plant will be performed electronically, and Tveito adds that they have an operations manager for the plant in Eastern Norway. He is in Hamar and makes regular visits. Apart from this, everything will be controlled remotely. A project manager from Småkraft followed the entire construction process locally.
Built for NOK 42 million
The work on the Rysna small-scale power plant began on 29 November, on the day before the licence deadline.
The first excavators were in place and immediately started digging the trench that would accommodate the 1170-metre long penstock. There are certain areas of the Belsheim field and Granlun farm that are very steep, but this has not presented any special problems.
“No, this hasn’t been particularly challenging. We’ve had other facilities that have been far more demanding that this,” says Tveito.
He ensures us that they have managed to keep within the budget framework. This project has cost about NOK 42 million.
There are six farmers and landowners who own the waterfall rights related to the development of Rysna.
These are Eli Belsheim, (Sygard Belsheim), Aud Irene Hamre Rogn and Odd Harald Rogn, (Granlund), Ola Norvald Hagen, Ellen and Harald Bauer, (Thune), Geir Ove Jevne and Kristoffer Jevnemarken (new owner is Per Kristian Borgli).
Småkraft AS was the developer, and the company leased the waterfall rights from the landowners. This is what made the power plant possible. A licence was granted for the power plant in November 2016, along with two other small-scale power plants in Vang, Føsseberge and Ala.
1170 metre long penstock
David Inge Tveito says that the penstock they used is about 1170 metres long. In practice, it runs between the flat area down from Belsheim, and up the very steep hillside to the county road, at the entrance where the county road crosses a small bridge over Rysna.
The entire penstock, which is one metre in diameter, is buried underground. The power station building, which houses the turbine and machine technology, is around 120 m2 and stands at the bottom of the area where the penstock ends. To be more precise, it stands in front of the Javnemarken farm, in the area near the former Tørpe school.
This uses the power from a waterfall with a drop of about 144 metres to produce electricity.
Tveito states that the high point during the construction process was when the turbine arrived and was driven in and hoisted into place. It weighed a total of approximately 40 tonnes.
A very impressed landowner leader
Eli Belsheim, a landowner and the head of the landowner group, which includes six farms, says that the implementation has been excellent.
“We found everyone involved to be professional and orderly. They have provided good information and have used local suppliers. We haven’t experienced any negative aspects related to this development. Now we’re looking forward to the inauguration ceremony,” says Eli Belsheim.
She emphases that this development has not encroached on recreational areas, and that the vegetation will soon grow back above the trenches dug for the penstocks. Now we’re just happy to be on target and reach the end of a long process from the planning stage until operations in November,” says Belsheim.
Couldn’t do it alone
Belsheim explains that the reason the six landowners wanted to carry out this development was to utilise the resources linked to the farms.
“There is no real difference between felling timber on a farm and utilising waterfall rights for a power plant. Each group with waterfall rights must make their own decisions on this. Developers have met the requirements from NVE for minimum water flow, among other things,” she adds.
Eli Belsheim admits that the world looked a little different at the time they began planning the development. The process at NVE also took a long time.
“There was such a strong increase in production costs from the time we started planning in 2009 until the construction process could begin in 2021. We would never have been able to carry out this development ourselves. It’s good to have a company who is responsible for this – which is also a Norwegian company,” she states.