Year 1908… There isn’t yet a hint of the First World War and the followed it revolution. The economy of the Russian Empire is rising. The metallurgical plant in neighboring Satka city has already been working for 150 years and the Uralian part of the Trans-Siberian Railway has already been finished. In such favorable conditions, the aristocratic family of Mordvinovs decides to build a unique for those times enterprise – a power station and a plant in one bunch.
The Porozhskaya HPP was constructed in a convenient gorge, at the estuary of the Bolshaya Satka River. All buildings are made from local mountain stone which you can see in the picture on the opposite side of the river.
Imported bricks were only used in joints and window and door openings. It is convenient and extremely beautiful. This is, for example, the house of a mining engineer.
The power station and the plant were built parallel to each other. Three hydropower units, modern French electric arc furnaces… At that time, the construction of the HPP located somewhere in the Uralian backwoods was the peak of engineering.
The entrance to the power station is on the right. The access is free. Let’s enter it and see what has remained intact.
The dispatch shop (right), the remains of cart rails, the guides of a telpher. It’s clear that the historic building is literally falling apart.
The first room leads to the engine hall.
The interior of the engine hall is like that of any metal workshop of a Soviet factory.
This is the basic unit. It didn’t avoid “innovations”. The original structure of the turbine has been changed. The original flywheel – replaced with a pulley.
The second unit is smaller. In the background, you can see the closet of a keeper.
Both units are quite noisy.
The nameplate of the producer.
The keeper. It’s much quieter inside his room as it’s provided with double glazed windows.
The main unit from another side.
Even now this old thing produces half a megawatt. For a simple comparison: an ordinary auto service with two large workshops for 5 cars each needs 8-10 kilowatts. It means that it can power about 50 services! As for the time when the HPP was in operation, it produced 1.3 MW. That was enough not only for the plant but also two neighboring villages.
In winter, the engine room was heated by a cast-iron stove.
The electronic equipment of the plant was updated during the Soviet time.
The water supply.
The foam signs in the middle of the building are the spillway of the units.
The general view of the dam.
One more view of the spillway.
The overall interior of the plant. Another unit on the left has the nameplate of the different producer.
The joint production of the USSR and Austria.
The keeper of the plant.
This is what we have under the main unit.
Many believe that the dam is in quite a poor condition now and may not survive a serious flood. Besides, judging by the condition of the basement, it becomes clear that in some 10 years or so the station may be lost forever.
The walls of the ferroalloy plant.
The dispatch shop of the plant.
The lifters of the spillway.
The more detailed picture.
The transmission line. It’s certainly not 100 years old but it transfers all the energy produced by the HPP to the local hotel and several villages.
The main shop of the ferroalloy plan with two furnace pipes on the roof.
That is the very same hotel. Three floors, a couple of dozen rooms, all amenities, a restaurant, a sauna, even a small swimming pool.
Lately, for the development of the hotel business the dam was deprived of the status of the historical and cultural monument of regional importance, but its final legal status has not yet been determined.
On the one hand, the production was stopped in 2000 and since then the building has been falling into decay. On the other hand, it’s the only source of energy for the neighboring villages and hotel. The latter will simply die without light and clients. Even if all the money of the hotel are put in the restoration of the HPP, that won’t be enough for sure…
Location: Porozhskaya HPP, Chelyabinsk Region