The Porozhskaya hydroelectric power plant is the oldest functional power plant in Russia. Last year it celebrated a centenary of trouble-free operation and has unique destiny like many other things in our country.
The place is hardly inhabited today. Only two small villages with 30 people are located nearby. But 100 years ago there was a huge modern metallurgic plant with best specialists working for it.
It was designed by Boris Bakhmetiev, a renowned engineer who graduated from the St Petersburg Railway Institute and went on to become a Professor at the St Petersburg Polytechnic Institute and subsequently at Columbia University. This historical monument named Porogi was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.
In spite of the fact the complex has never seen reconstruction, its condition is perfect. Unfortunately, the plant itself that used electric arc furnaces couldn’t survive.
Arc furnaces are considered as the most functional devices even today. Later the plant became a part of a giant enterprise Magnesite. Its operation was closed down in the end of 90s due to unprofitability.
Luckily the enterprise wasn’t let to turn into historical ruins.
There was a workshop that time that could run 32 thousand tones of ferro-alloys a year whereas this very plant never produced more than 400 tones a year and was still included into the complex to prevent spoliation.
The city has no money to support the old enterprise. Around 26000 USD a year taken from the revenue of the local hotel is spent to make it live.