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Electric power time flow: from Fala to Formin

The complete chain of 8 power plants on the Drava River was built between 1918 and 1978. Already implemented and planned refurbishment will keep power plants on the Drava River in operation for many decades to come into the third millenium.

In the period of its construction after World War I, the Fala HPP, the first hydroelectric plant on the Drava River in Slovenia, was the most modern and powerful hydroelectric power plant in the eastern Alpine region and Central Europe, as well as the carrier of industrial development and the developer of an electric power network in central and north-eastern Slovenia.

Ob gradnji HE Mariborski otok

 Construction of Mariborski otok HPP

During the World War II, the Dravograd and Mariborski otok Power Plants were built as pier-type river plants. In 1945 completion and extensive refurbishment works were performed at the Dravograd HPP, which was already operating during the war. It was necessary to repair the damage caused by bombings and thus allowing it to operate with the first two turbines. At the Mariborski otok HPP, left after the war as just an abandoned construction site, the first turbine began operating in 1948 with two more turbines joining in 1960. 

The first power plant constructed completely after the war was the Vuzenica Power Plant, beginning operation in 1953. This was followed by the Vuhred Power Plant in 1956 and the Ožbalt Power Plant in 1960. With the exception of the Fala Power Plant, all the power plants built on the Drava River between Dravograd and Maribor are of the pier-type in which the turbine piers and spillways are located in the riverbed.

The Zlatoličje HPP, built during 1964-1969, was the first channel-type HPP. The plant is the biggest HPP in Slovenia. Water is supplied through a 17.2 km long supply channel from the Melje Dam and returning to the Drava riverbed along a 6.2 km long discharge channel. About one fifth of all the energy generated by Dravske Elektrarne Maribor comes from the Zlatoličje HPP. The Formin HPP is also a channel-type plant which began operation in 1978. Its large reservoir increases the adaptability of its operation, ensuring a more efficient generation.

The capacity of the oldest Drava power plant, the Fala HPP, was increased in 1977 with the addition of an eighth unit. Two more units were built in 1991 replacing seven of the oldest units, which were permanently put out of operation. In the last two decades, the remaining five Upper Drava power plants were refurbished, increasing their capacities and the available power. The combined increase was comparable to the operation of one additional power plant.

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