The cultural heritage of Drava energy: maintained for future generations
On the grounds of the oldest hydroelectric power plant on the Drava River, renovated and still in operation today, is a monument for visitors – the original powerhouse containing a preserved horizontal Francis turbine.
This renovated turbine, with a partially open turbine cover, allows a look into how the power plant operates and transforms water power into mechanical energy
In 1986 the old part of the Fala HPP was proclaimed an important part of Slovenian technical heritage. After the original units finally ceased operation ten years later, Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, in cooperation with the Maribor regional unit of the Institute for Cultural Heritage in Slovenia, carried out renovation works on the powerhouse, preserving all the units and the auxiliary equipment. The doors were opened to visitors in 1998 for informative and educational lectures. Since then around 5000 visitors tour the plant annually and, with the aid of an expert guide and a film presentation, the current and former operation of the power plant can be compared. In 2008 the Government of Slovenia adopted a decree declaring the museum part of the hydroelectric power plant Fala a cultural monument of national importance. The special attention that Dravske Elektrarne Maribor devotes to maintaining its technological heritage is an important factor in its responsible conduct towards both society and ecology. Understanding the factors influencing the social acceptability, as well as ecological impacts, also includes respect for cultural and technical values.
The characteristics of the first Drava hydroelectric power plant in Slovenia – the Fala HPP in the past and today:
In 1918 the initial capacity of the first Drava power plant amounted to 20 MW (5 generating units each with a capacity of 4 MW). It was only in 1932 that the plant was completed with the installation of two more units of 7 MW each, increasing the plant's total capacity to 34 MW. Currently, the net capacity of the Fala HPP is 58 MW.
When it first began operation, the plant was equipped with horizontal Francis turbines with two turbine runners installed in one housing. Now, three functional units operate with vertical Kaplan turbines.
The most powerful power plant of its time was constructed so that the powerhouse with the generating units was located on the left bank of the river while the spillways were built into the riverbed itself and the raft channel located on the right bank.