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Vamma 12 opened

The Vamma 12 power plant was officially opened by Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday. Norconsult has provided a sizeable team and been responsible for all project planning and engineering design work for the facility.

In addition to project planning and engineering, including building information modelling (BIM), Norconsult has been responsible for several specialist assignments and ad hoc commissions. Vamma 12 is the world’s first hydropower plant to be built using paperless construction techniques.

The facility lies on the Glomma river, 18 km downstream of Lake Øyeren between the municipalities of Askim and Skiptvet. It is Norway’s largest run-of-river power plant, with a maximum operating flow of 500 m3 per second and a nominal power output of 127 MW. The entire project has cost almost NOK 1 billion.

“It has been an extensive and exciting project to be involved in. We have had a constructive dialogue and worked closely with the client throughout the process, and we are proud to have been responsible for all the project planning and engineering design work for this groundbreaking project,” explains senior project manager at Norconsult, Franziska Ludescher-Huber.

Immense undertaking

Norconsult has acted as interdisciplinary consulting engineer for the Vamma 12 project from the start of the feasibility study in 2011 until final completion in 2019.

“A large team of highly competent people have spent a long time planning every detail of the work needed to build a hydropower facility of this size and complexity. The project has broken new ground, in that it is the first major hydropower project to make use of BIM in a way that eliminated the need to have technical drawings printed out on paper. Norconsult has led this work in an impressive manner,” comments E-CO’s project manager Fidjar Molle.

“I am extremely pleased with the job Norconsult has done and our collaboration throughout the project. On behalf of E-CO, I would like to thank everyone at Norconsult who, each in their different ways, has helped to realise this fantastic facility. We are particularly grateful to senior project manager Fraziska Ludescher-Huber and project planning manager Egil Rune Skjolden, for the outstanding way they have led Norconsult’s project planning team.

Paperless

The project was performed using BIM in all technical areas, with no drawings supplied on paper. As the project planner, Norconsult was responsible for the building information model used for the project. The actual construction work was undertaken entirely on the basis of this digital model.

The power of 170,000 horses and 100 elephants a second!

The upgraded facility is Norway’s largest run-of-river hydropower plant and its dimensions are enormous. The turbine’s runner is almost 8 metres in diameter and has an output capacity of 127 MW, equivalent to 170,000 horsepower. More than 250,000 m3 of rock was blasted out, and over 35,000 m3 of concrete was poured. The Kaplan turbine has a maximum operating flow of 500 m3 of water a second, equivalent to the weight of approx. 100 elephants – every second.

The Vamma power plant’s 1.6 TWh annual output accounts for more than 1 per cent of Norway’s total electricity consumption. From the bottom of the tailrace to the top is a distance of 70 metres – four metres higher than Oslo City Hall.

Positive environmental impact

The entire Vamma hydropower plant produces enough electricity to meet the needs of almost 80,000 homes or 200,000 people, or enough power to charge 420,000 electric cars.

The construction of the Vamma 12 power plant has practically no negative environmental consequences, apart from the inconvenience caused during the actual construction period. Both the rate of water flow and the water levels upstream and downstream of the facility are the same as they were before. The biggest difference is that more of the water will now pass through turbines instead of flowing unused through the spillway when the river is in full spate.