On December 28, 2016, the Irkutskaya HPP celebrates the 60th anniversary of its launch

On December 28, the Irkutskaya HPP, the first power plant forming part of the HPP cascade on the Angara River and the first large HPP in Eastern Siberia, celebrates the anniversary of its launch. Sixty years ago, the Irkutskaya HPP gave impetus to the development of the entire region, stimulated the development of industry and became a symbol of prosperity and confidence in the future for the residents of Irkutsk. Today, the Irkutskaya HPP with a capacity of 662.4 MW produces 4.1 TWh per year when the water level is average. The installed capacity utilization time totals 6,200 hours. Electricity is supplied to the Irkutsk power system and is used by enterprises in energy-intensive industries.

We would like to remind that in January 1950, the government of the USSR approved the construction of the Irkutsk hydroelectric complex, and a month later the construction began. The uniqueness of the project was the bold idea of combining the dam and the HPP building. For the first time in global practice, a rock-fill dam was built from gravel and sand. Construction of the Irkutskaya HPP was fraught with difficulties: there was no experience in building such hydropower plants in the country; the powerful, fast and cold river imposed special requirements for the works. However, despite challenging climatic conditions, construction of the Irkutskaya HPP was completed on time. On July 7, 1956, the Angara River was dammed and diverted to flow through the HPP building which was under construction; the process took only 16 hours. On December 29, 1956, 82 months after the start of the works, the first hydroelectric unit of the Irkutskaya HPP was connected to the grid. Two days later, on December 31, the second hydroelectric unit was put into operation. In 1958, the builders put the last two units into operation ahead of schedule, and the Irkutskaya HPP started to operate at full capacity.

The Irkutskaya HPP is a historically established regulator of the unique water flow from Lake Baikal to the Angara cascade of HPPs. The power plant regulates the water level in Lake Baikal seasonally and in the long term, enabling power generation at the Angara HPPs; it also regulates water levels in the Angara River upstream from the backwater area of the Bratskaya dam to enable navigation and water withdrawal by industrial enterprises and utilities in Irkutsk, Angarsk and Usolye-Sibirskoe.

Oleg Prichko, CEO of PJSC Irkutskenergo: "Damming of the Angara River for the Irkutsk HPP is a great achievement enabled by far-sightedness and strategic vision; it is the outcome of the enormous work done by researchers and designers, the work of numerous industries, the efforts of committed, enterprising, proud professionals and selfless enthusiasts who built the first hydroelectric power plant in Siberia in the shortest possible time. A whole host of power engineers and builders, who later took part in the construction of such industrial giants as the Bratskaya, Ust-Ilimskaya and Krasnoyarskaya HPPs, gained experience during the construction of the Irkutskaya HPP."


Press service of PJSC Irkutskenergo 

December 28, 2016
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