The power plant stands on cadastral numbers 26/14 and 20/1 in Lesja municipality. Each has plots on either side of Valåe river and therefore own the waterfall rights in Valåe up to the shared property.
The landowners were aware that the river could have a good potential for small-scale hydropower. It quickly became clear that the development would involve relatively large investments. In 2007, the landowners entered into a contract with Småkraft, which assumed the risk, the work with the licensing process and the development itself.
NVE granted a license in 2012, and in the summer of 2013, Bjorli Anlegg began the construction work. Bjorli Anlegg is a collaboration between three local contractor companies, Kvekroken Entreprenør, Lesja Bulldozerlag and Aaheim Maskin & Transport. They brought along Jora Bygg & Laft AS, which carried out the concrete work. In 2014/2015, the power plant was ready to deliver its contribution in the form of new, renewable energy and local business revenue.
With its natural stone walls and a glass façade, the station building has a lovely exterior and has been nicely adapted to the terrain above the cycling path by the Lesjaskog lake.
The Lesjaverk region has a long history of utilising resources in the local area. Hydropower for mills, sawmills, and electricity, as well as the large ironworks in the 16th and 17th centuries testify to this. In this sense, modern power production is part of the development.
The implementation of the project has had its challenges along the way. The project was reduced, both during the licensing phase, more unusually, during the design phase. The approval processes took a long time.
The intake is located in a narrow ravine, where it was necessary to perform blasting in an otherwise difficult terrain.
On the positive side, the local contractor and other suppliers have made good progress. Together with the project operation team, they have ensured that the project will be completed within the budget.
Winter was on our side and enabled good progress during a period where construction work would normally have come to a halt. Creative and highly skilled local contractors have also been valuable to the development project.
Collaboration with the landowners has been good. Their contribution in the form of local knowledge and their presence during the application phase and construction phase has enabled a smooth project implementation.
Valåe power plant has inflow from a catchment area of 22 km2. The minimum water flow in winter is 15 l/s, while in summer it is 70 l/s. The intake is at elevation 875 and the power station is at elevation 627, which gives a fall height of 248 metres. Estimated power production is 5.5 GWh in a normal year. This corresponds with electricity consumption for 275 households.
The Pelton turbine has 5 nozzles with a maximum flow rate of 850 l/s and runs 2.1 MVA, 690 v generator. All power is converted to 22 kV and delivered to the grid.
The intake is built as a threshold, with a “shark cage” as an intake construction. The intake is well adapted to the terrain on the site, and appears to be a modest intervention.
The penstock is made of GRP/cast iron and is buried from the intake to the station. It has a length of 1700 metres and a diameter of 600 mm.
The 80 m2 power plant building is constructed in the familiar Småkraft style and stands on the ground, well integrated into the terrain. Outflow is led through pipes into the left branch of the Valåe river.