Energy of Cooperation. Borisoglebskaya HPP – 55 Years of Operation

We know from the history of mankind that crossroads and river banks were a place where big cities arose, life was in full bloom, new civilizations were born. It is not without reason that in many languages the words "river" and "road" sound similar.

We know from the history of mankind that crossroads and river banks were a place where big cities arose, life was in full bloom, new civilizations were born. It is not without reason that in many languages the words "river" and "road" sound similar. However, the river is not only a path, but also a border between its side and the other. Surprisingly, it also happens that the river border does not divide, but, on the contrary, unites peoples, becoming a common path to the desired goal.

Holy River

In some sources, the name of the river Paz is translated as “Holy River” — it gave the name to the entire area, which has long been called Pasvik.

The cultural hearth of these lands were monasteries, and the Borisoglebskaya Church, built in the 16th century, which is now one of the most beautiful monuments of northern church architecture. In addition to the monks, the natives and a few colonists lived there, engaged in mining ores and the artisanal washing of gold in the cold waters of Paz.

The border between Russia and Norway along the Holy River has passed since ancient times — already in 1826, an agreement between the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Norway put an end to a long border dispute over the right to possess the Kola Peninsula. Now it is the northernmost continental border of Russia and it is located beyond the Arctic Circle.

Life changed about a century ago, when hydrobuilders tamed the obstinate rapids of the northern river, and in the estuary, the most powerful HPP of these places, Borisoglebskaya, began its operation.

This plant is unique in many ways. First, it is the northernmost underground power plant in the world. Secondly, it is the northernmost in TGC-1, thirdly, borders with Norway, but uses water from Lake Inari, Finland.

And in general, do you often see a hydroelectric power plant in which the state border runs right across the dam?

Building a Relationship

At the beginning of the 20th century, Joint Stock Company Sydvaranger, which mined iron ore on the Norwegian side, near Kirkenes, needed electricity. Therefore, it appealed to the Russian government with a request for a concession to use the waterfall located here.

The Norwegians pointed to the “uselessness of this site for Russia in this desert margin” and estimated the power of the Borisoglebsky “padun” at 4,000 horsepower.

To verify the calculations, in 1907, Professor Albitsky, the leading Russian specialist in hydropower engineering, was sent there. According to his conclusions, the capacity of the river in this area ranged from 24 to 37 thousand horsepower, and he considered the conditions proposed by Sydvaranger unprofitable for Russia. All other attempts by foreign miners to achieve their goal failed.

An agreement was reached only after the Great Patriotic War. On December 18, 1957, Norway and the Soviet Union concluded an agreement on the use of the hydro resources of the border river Paz.

The Finnish company Imatran Voima has built three hydroelectric power plants in Paz for the USSR: Kaitakoski, Yaniskoski and Rayakoski.

Hevoskoski and Borisoglebsky hydropower complex — the last in a cascade — was erected by the Norwegian company, Norelectro.

According to this document, the USSR received the right to build hydroelectric power plants Hevoskoski and Borisoglebskaya, and Norway — Skugfoss and Melkefoss. In 1959, the USSR and Finland signed an agreement to regulate the water resources of Lake Inari, from which Paz flows out, and a little later Norway joined it.

Last year, Comrade N. Khrushchev visited the construction site of the Borisoglebskaya HPP. He examined it with interest and listened carefully to everything that the Norwegian and Soviet experts were talking about. Speaking after a while before the Kremenchug hydrobuilders, Khrushchev recalled Borisogleb.

“I was recently in the north of our country,” he said. “There, on the border with Norway, the Norwegian hydro builders are building a power plant under an agreement with us. Construction work is already ending, machine buildings are ready, but there are no machines yet... And if the turbines were delivered there in time, the plant would soon begin to produce industrial current...”

The Leningrad turbine builders took to heart these words of Comrade N. Khrushchev. “Let's build two hydraulic turbines ahead of time!” They summoned. The word "August" was already on the calendar sheets. And yet at the Power Plant named after the XXII Congress of the CPSU decided: To manufacture the first hydraulic turbine in October instead of November, and the second one — in November instead of December. A weighty word was said by the founders, members of the brigade of communist labour after A. Zagulyaev. They managed to save five days on the casting of the lower rings and the bases of the turbines. In advance, two sets of impeller chambers and rings were also manufactured. Komsomol members took patronage over orders. The team, which was headed by Ivan Romanov, the turner of the ¬hydroturbine workshop, initiated the details of the turbines for the polar power plant to process only ahead of schedule! In all areas, almost every machine in those days could see the calls: “Borisoglebsky — ahead of time!”

The turbines were delivered to the energy builders one and a half months earlier, and the installers from the Vorislav Indrasis brigade installed them well in place.

P. Melnikov, M. Korolev
Pravda. — 1963. — November 20

Work began in 1960 and lasted more than three years. Norelektro supplied all equipment for the hydroelectric power plant, except for vertical movable blade water turbines manufactured at the Leningrad Metal Plant, and hydroelectric generators manufactured by the Sverdlovsk Uralelectroapparat plant.

The brightest page in the history of hydropower construction was a visit to the construction site by the First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Nikita Khrushchev on July 17, 1962. Khrushchev was interested in the construction of the plant and got acquainted with the construction of new houses for specialists.

On September 12, 1963 the facility was put into temporary operation and into permanent operation on April 1, 1964. Two hydroelectric generators of domestic production with a capacity of 28 megawatts each gave electricity — one to the unified energy system of the Kola Peninsula, the second to Norway.

Full of energy

Borisoglebskaya HPP has many features. As already mentioned, the state border between Russia and Norway passes along its dam, the plant can simultaneously feed the power systems of both countries, and a view of the Norwegian Beckfjord opens from its windows.

The main turbine hall is built directly in the rock and located underground at a depth of 50 meters.

Before reaching the turbine blades, the water of Paz makes its way through a tunnel cut in the rock with a length of 854 meters with a height of arches of 14 meters and a width of 10 meters.

Delivery of equipment, parts and tools is carried out along an almost 200 meters long transport tunnel, also cut in the rock.

The HPP has the largest on-site water-storage basin on the cascade providing daily and weekly flow regulation. Its length is 41 km along the river bed.

The capacity of the cascade HPP increases as approaching the mouth of the river. Therefore, the lower one – Borisoglebskaya HPP – has 5 times greater capacity than the highest one Kaitakoski.

Aesthetics and constructivism united in this building as a firm handshake between the artist and the scientist. The harmony of the forms of huge planes of the interior with fine details of everyday life is striking. It seems as if you got inside a huge, ultra-modern dinosaur, where the phone is ears, the control panel is eyes, and the shelf with technical literature is the brain. And one woman looks over this whole "water mill".

O. Turkov
Severomorskaya pravda. – 1974. – 12 October

The plant has two hydroelectric generators of 28 MW each. For more than half a century, the main equipment has undergone quite a few major overhauls and renovations, which have improved the reliability and efficiency of the plant and the convenience of its operation.

Like 50 years ago, Borisoglebskaya HPP transmits electricity via L-167 to Russia to Zapolyarny and via L-225 exports to Norway to Kirkenes.

School for power engineers

The plant team is only 12 people, and most of it are employees with the professional experience of over 20 years. Their experience is shared among young guys. The employees live in the nearby village of Borisoglebsky and some in Nikel, 40 km from the HPP.

Here, the Director and the Chief Engineer of the Paz HPPs Cascade Nikolay Vorobyev and Evgeny Kotov received professional experience.

Mr Vorobyev worked at the plant since 1986; he was an electrician of power equipment, a duty engineer, an engineer at the site of dispatching and technical management facilities. Mr Kotov worked at the plant for eight years, since 1985; he was a duty engineer and a PSP engineer.

"As for me, Borisoglebskaya HPP was a starting point in my development as a hydropower engineer, and I am grateful to its staff who taught me. It was a strong team, but no less strong one works at the plant today. The HPP is in good condition, and this is primarily the merit of its staff," emphasises Evgeny Kotov.

The plant's head Andrey Nikitin is 32 years old, but he is already an experienced and promising power engineer in his field.

"About the HPP itself, I will say that it is a truly unique and inimitable plant. Being established by two countries, it is a competent mix of Soviet and Norwegian equipment. Its location at the border imposes the features of its operation, and I can not but mention that the implementation of technical innovations at the cascade often begins from Borisoglebskaya HPP. This, for example, concerns the current excitation system and speed regulators," Mr Nikitin said.

Operational staff is at the plant during the day, the rest of the time is the duty at home: at home the duty engineer has an alarm system and a dedicated dispatch communication channel with the shift supervisor at Rayakoski, from where the equipment of Borisoglebskaya HPP is monitored in the evening and at night.

At one time, the construction of Borisoglebskaya HPP was of particular importance in the energy cooperation between Norway and the USSR. Over time, the importance of the plant has not decreased, but rather increased.

The HPP celebrates its 55th anniversary as the most powerful plant in the Paz HPPs Cascade, and it will undoubtedly meet this status in the future.



  • Installed capacity, MW: 56
  • Average annual output, mln kWh: 285
  • Layout type: dam-diversion

Pressure structures

  • Dam type: concrete buttress
  • Maximum height, m: 20.8
  • Length along the ridge, m: 78
  • Estimated maximum discharge flow, m3/s: 1082

Water-storage basin

  • Total volume, million m3: 287.6
  • Useful volume, million m3: 27.3
  • Area at the normal reservoir water surface, km2: 56
  • Normal reservoir water surface elevation, m: 20.85

Hydroelectric generating units

  • Number and capacity of hydroelectric generating units: 2x28 MW
  • Turbine type: kaplan turbine
  • Rated head, m: 19
  • The issuance of the HPP hydroelectric power is made with the 150 kV outdoor switchgear. The average annual power generation is 285 million kWh