Record-high river levels stemming from Storm Hans, a storm that battered southern Norway this week, have partially destroyed a dam on the Glåma River and inundated Hafslund Eco’s Braskereidfoss hydroelectric power plant.
After days of heavy rain stemming from the powerful storm, which triggered widespread flooding and landslides, the two units at the 40-MW Braskereidfoss hydroelectric power plant reportedly tripped offline at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 9. While hatches in the power plant on the Glåma River—Norway’s longest and most voluminous river—were designed to open automatically if excessive water collected behind the dam, they suffered an unknown failure, Alexandra Bech Gjørv, board chair at Hafslund Eco, reportedly said.
The debacle prompted police in the Innlandet district and Norway’s defense forces to consider using a staged explosion to open a hatch in the dam to release the water, news media widely reported. But by 4:30 p.m., parts of the dam began to collapse. (Watch an NRK video of the dam’s collapse here.)
Hafslund Eco on Wednesday said in a statement said the water “has now passed through the filling dam, which is located next to the power plant.” For the time being, “it appears that the water diversion through the fill dam is going well,” the company said.
Hafslund Eco owns and operates hydropower plants across large parts of Norway. The Braskereidfoss power plant is a run-of-river hydropower project in Våler municipality, Innlandet County. The power plant, which utilizes a 9-meter drop in the Glåma River, was initially built as a single 22-MW unit—Braskereidfoss 1, which started production in 1978. In 2016, the power plant was expanded to include a new building containing a new 18-MW bulb turbine system, which utilized water more efficiently and was built in compliance with modern requirements for health, safety, and the environment. According to Hafslund Eco, the new unit increased production by 40 GWh to 170 GWh.