The Bruvollelva power plant is located in Snåsa municipality in Nord-Trøndelag. The river flows into Snåsavatnet lake, Norway’s sixth largest lake. Geographically, Snåsa is a large municipality, which is rich in natural resources from soil, forests, mountains and lakes. Throughout the ages, agriculture and forestry have been the key for all other activities in the village, which today has had significant ripple effects for the people who live here.
Bruvollelva is a typical flood river and with its large catchment area, the river is a significant source of waterpower. The people who have had the river as their neighbour have been exploiting this to their advantage for hundreds of years. The first indications of people taming the forces of the river can be traced back to 1661. According to the 1661 “Inderøens Jordebog”, a register of ownership, a Bruvoll farmer had to pay 6 shillings in taxes to use his water mill on the river just east of the Bruvoll farms.
The stone wall of the power plant building is adorned with two old millstones. These two stones were found during the excavation work near the power station. The millstones are likely centuries old and represent a solid testimony to the historical utilisation of the river’s power. in the river. We don’t know whether the millstones originated from the mill mentioned in 1661, or whether there was also a mill further down the river, by the power station.
However, we do know a great deal about the Bruvollelva river and the sawmill operations dating back to the early 18th century. At that time all gate saws were water powered. Sources tell us that it was Pastor Niels Muus who started sawmill operations in the village. In 1714, he built the Øvre Bruvoll saw in the Bruvollelva river. In 1714, a “Trondheim citizen” built the Nedre Bruvoll sawmill, probably just a short distance from where the current power station stands today. The Bruvollsagene sawmill received timber from 23 farms in 1744, and among the 10,800 planks that were sawn in the village that year, 9,000 of them were sawn at the Bruvollsagene sawmill. The prosperity of the late 18th century gradually changed to hardship throughout the 19th century, until nearly all sawmill activity in the village was discontinued from 1839 and onward for quite some time.
Then, in 1898, a committee of five people began drawing up plans for sawmills and planing mills at Sagbakken, roughly in the same area where Nedre Bruvoll saw stood. And this would very soon become a significant facility on a rural scale. The building was 350m2, and two storeys. A dam was built about 300 m opposite the sawmill, and from there the water was carried down through a gutter to a turbine at the saw that produced about 100 horsepower. Saga was a frame saw with a 3-metre long saw blade, which could saw logs with a diameter of one metre. The sawmill employed about 50 men when the facility was at its busiest. However, a lack of capital forced the forest owners on the north side to sell the plant to Trondhjæms Trelastkompani. This company operated the facility from 1904 to 1913, and from that point on, the water in the river has been allowed to flow freely out into Snåsavatnet lake.
In 2010, the river was given new life in a turbine. This environmentally friendly facility built at Sagbakken will provide power for the benefit of its owners, waterfall owners and society as a whole. Energy production from the power plant thus represents a new stage of the river’s long life.
Bruvollelva power plant has an inflow from a catchment area of 79.6 km2. The power plant is required to have a minimum water flow of 240 l/s in summer and 160 l/s in winter. Power production is an estimated 12.4 GWh, corresponding with electricity for 620 households. A horizontal Francis turbine was installed with a capacity of 3.8 MW. The plant has a maximum flow rate of 3.85 m3/s. The length of the operating waterway from the intake dam to the station is 1030 metres. The 1200-mm pipes are buried in a trench. About 1100 metres of the waterway has GRP pipes, while 250 metres of the waterway have cast iron pipes. The power station is built on the ground. The waterway crosses a pronounced river gorge with a pipe bridge construction.