American conglomerate General Electric, Lenin’s Soviet Industrialization Plan, and Modern World Wonders List as to 2007…. are united with something really big. It is the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station located in Zaporizhzhya.
It is not so beautiful as either the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower on that List but it is still one of the biggest hydroelectric stations in the world. Currently the dam wall is more than 800 m long and 67 m high. When Dniproges started operation in 1932 it was the largest hydroelectric station in the world.
Construction of the hydroelectric plant happened to be a byproduct of flooding the Dnieper rapids to make the river navigable. First plans for it have appeared in the end of the 19th century, and have been implemented a couple of decades later. It became apparent to use the energy of running water for electricity generation purposes.
After the October Revolution, preoccupied with building the communism in the USSR, Lenin has proclaimed communism as “the Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country”. Thus, the Soviet Industrialization Era under the rule of tyrannical Stalin was proceeding under the above well-known motto.
Flooding water energy on the Dnieper River has been eventually harnessed to produce electricity in 1932. Construction lasted for 5 years, the best Soviet engineers were engaged in the project, the newest hydroelectric and dam building technology and experience was utilized in the Dniproges creation. Apart from the above, General Electric has manufactured the first five gigantic power generators for the station, and 8 American engineers and consultants were awarded with Orders of the Red Banner of Labor for their contribution to the work.
Thanks to Dnipoges power supply there have appeared fast growing industrial centers in Zaporizhzhya, Kryvy Rih and Dniepropetrovsk. The hydroelectric station has been supporting high power-consuming aluminum production imperative for maturing Soviet aviation.
In the years of the World War II the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station was dynamited twice. In the beginning of the war it was dynamited by the Soviet Army as it was a strategic object, and 2 years later by the German Troops as they were retreating from the area on the Dnieper River.
The damage to the power station was so extensive that Dniproges resumed power production fully only 5 years after the war, in 1950.
Nowadays Dniproges is an essential part of the Power Supply System of Ukraine. The station’s dam is open for car and trolley traffic. Also, the Hydroelectric Station has recently become available for sightseeing, and we do recommend it as an interesting learning experience. Dniproges used to be a “modern world wonder” until 2007, after all…