Vanndøla power plant

There is a long history of utilising waterpower resources in Jostedalen. Plans for laid for power development in Breheimen already in the 1950s. In 1978, the Leirdøla power plant was put into operation. Jostedal power plant was then put into operation in 1989. Together, these two plants produce about 1.3 TWh annually.

Vanndalen is one of the side valleys that was affected by the development of Jostedal power plant. Here, a construction road was built up to a crossroads at the tunnel at about 1000 m above sea level, and a stream intake leads from the upper catchment area of the Vanndalen valley. This major project leaves a residual flow on the landowners’ property.
Through an agreement with Småkraft AS (later transferred to Luster Småkraft AS) in 2004, the landowners made their waterfall rights available for the development of a small-scale power project. Luster Småkraft AS assumed the risk, the work with the licensing process and the development itself. In May 2008, the power plant was put into operation, ready to deliver its contribution in the form of new renewable energy and local business revenues.
The power plant project in Vanndøla created a great deal of local activity during the construction period and provided business income for the landowners and the local community. Operation and maintenance will also be carried out by the landowners and local companies.

The Vanndøla power plant, like other completed power plants under the auspices of Småkraft, has received positive feedback for its architecture and good adaptation to the terrain.

Construction work presented several challenges, including the steep penstock route. The intake is located in a natural pool and blends nicely into the terrain. The upper part of the penstock route leads through fairly flat terrain, but the middle section has an inclination of 27 degrees. The contractor experienced problems with access along the penstock. At elevation 325, the penstock crosses the river through a pipe bridge. Skilled local contractors solved the problem despite a combination of heavy snowfall and a difficult terrain.

Most of the penstock has been blasted into the mountain and the power station also stands on rock.The outlet from the power station is upstream of the anadromous stretch. This was taken into consideration by designing the power station to allow the water to pass through even if the machine stops abruptly. This will prevent the river from drying out downstream of the power station, since it will not be necessary to wait for water from the spillway.

The power produced is delivered to the grid, via a 280-metre-long cable, to the existing high-voltage line.

Luster Småkraft AS develops, builds and operates small-scale power plants in Luster municipality in collaboration with local waterfall rights holders. The company is located in the municipality of Luster. It has two facilities in operation and has sought licensing for another five projects.

Luster Energiverk AS is the concessionaire for the area in Luster municipality and has a history as a producer and distributor of electric power dating back to 1915.

Jostedalen is one of the main valleys in Luster municipality, furthest east in Sogn & Fjordane county. The valley is located between Jostedalsbreen and Jotunheimen and is surrounded by high mountains and glaciers.

Technical data

Rainfall field

Minimum water flow

Summer: 50 l/s

Intake elevation

704 m

Power station elevation

194,0 m

Drop height

510 m


12,8 GWh
This corresponds to electricity 800 households.