The Fossá hydropower plant at Vestmanna produced its first electricity 65 years ago. For all these years, the facility also managed and distributed into the national grid all the electricity produced in the country
At a gala celebration on the 5th of May 1954, attended by representatives from the Faroese Parliament and Government and the Danish Parliament, the Fossá hydropower plant was officially inaugurated. The ferry, M/S Tjaldur, arrived in Vestmanna with many guests and in the evening a festive dinner was held in the gymnastics hall of the local school, where 220 invited guests gathered to celebrate the first major expansion of SEV.
The hydropower construction carried out at Vestmanna during the 1950s, with its associated dams above the village, tunnels, pipe lines, coupling stations, grid construction and the Fossá hydropower plant itself, was, at the time, the biggest construction project ever undertaken in the Faroe Islands.
Nevertheless, the first production and distribution of electricity from the Fossá hydropower plant took place a few months prior to the above-mentioned celebration date. On Wednesday, 2 December 1953 at 16:30, the power plant was tested for the first time when electricity flowed to the power plant itself and to the small hamlet of Fitjarnir in Vestmanna adjacent to the power plant.
Fifteen minutes later power was transferred into the Tórshavn grid. On the 5th and 6th of December, electricity was transferred to the Vestmanna and Eysturoy grids, respectively. During all of December 1953, a number of villages were connected to the grid and the last area to be connected was the hamlet of Fjørð in Vestmanna where the Fossá hydropower plant itself is located. This last connection of the first major expansion of the electricity system of SEV occurred on 22 December, at which point all of Vestmanna village was successfully connected to the grid.
During all these 65 years, the Fossá hydropower plant has been instrumental in co-ordinating the supply of electrical power from the various power plants into the grid. In 2015, the power supply control room was renovated and updated when the power plant itself underwent a major overhaul.
A survey undertaken in January 1954 showed that some 1,300 households received electricity from the Fossá hydropower plant. Earlier projections estimated that some 2,000 customers would be connected to the grid in this very first expansion phase.
Initially, demand equated to approximately 600 KWH, peaking at 800 KWH. This represents 1.4% of SEV’s entire electricity load today, which in November 2018 equalled some 58 MW!
The dams in Vestmanna constructed in connection with the Fossá hydropower plant were placed at Frammi við Vatnið in Fonsdal and at Lómundaroyri. During the period 1956 to 1963, further expansion of the hydropower system in the Vestmanna area took place, including the new production facilities at Mýra and Heygadal.