Porąbka - Żar Power Station (Żywiec, Poland) - the second largest pumped-storage power plant in Poland
Location show on map
Żar n / Żywiec, Śląskie, Poland
Date of build
1979 - commissioning
One of the biggest problems of modern energy is the variable energy consumption in different parts of the day, or depends on, for example, important sports events. Over 90% of Polish electricity is supplied by thermal power plants that can not be turned off when the electricity they produce is not needed, ie at night. To solve this, hydroelectric power stations are being built. When there is a low demand for electricity, and therefore it is cheap, such a power plant pumping water, which in the rush hour is released producing electricity. By comparing the amount of electricity consumed and produced, one can come to the conclusion that such a power plant brings losses. Only after taking into account the differences in the price of used and produced electricity, such a venture begins to pay off. Most of these power plants are of course in the USA. The European leader in this field is Switzerland. There they find not the highest power plants of this type. In Poland, pump power plants are 23. The largest one is located in Żarnowiec. The highest power plant in question is Porąbka - Żar.
It is literally inside and on the surface of the Żar mountain. This mountain is about 850 m above sea level and its relative height is about 400 m. It lies in the Żywiec Beskid, about 10 km from the center of Żywiec, over the Międzybrodzie Reservoir on the river Sole. It is a place known for great conditions for a pair of hang gliding, hang gliding and gliding. It is also known for the occurrence of many unexplained phenomena. It is a great place for a hydroelectric power plant. Firstly, Żar has a flat peak, ideal for building the upper reservoir, secondly, the water for the power plant can be drawn from a nearby reservoir.
The power plant consists of the 3 most important parts. On the top of the mountain there is a huge reservoir that accumulates water. It is 650 m long and 250 m wide at its widest point. The embankments are over 30 m high. It has the shape of a deltoid. It has 2,310,000 m³ of water, the maximum depth of which is 28 m. It is sealed with several layers of asphalt, laid with reinforced concrete. There is a gallery for leaks measurements. During the day, only 2 liters of water leak from the tank.
The second element of the power plant are 2 windows drilled inside the mountain. They are 4 meters in diameter and are inclined at an angle of 45 ° to the ground. They transport water to the power plant hall, and when it is pumped to the upper tank. The power plant is equipped with 4 modern turbines made in Austria. Each of the 2 transport channels branches into 2 turbines. Then, the water flows through 4 tiny valves, each weighing 80 tons. At full power, each of the 4 turbines swallows 36 tons of water per second. All turbines give a capacity of 500 MW. The start-up time of the power plant is just 3 minutes. They perform functions of both turbines and pumps. Their hall has a cubic volume larger than the St. Mary's Church in Krakow. Pumping water to the upper tank at a rate of 145 m³ / sec. each of them consumes 135 MW. Pumping the full tank takes 5 hours. Then the water is released into the Międzybrodzki reservoir. A current with a voltage of over 14 KV is transported to the switchgear at the foot of the mountain. Then its voltage is increased to 120,000 V and is sent further.
The line running through Żary and the next mountains is threatened not only by trees that need to be cut regularly, but also by unlucky hangers or paragliders. Just in case the poles were painted red, the area around the line is constantly monitored. In an emergency situation, an average car breaker located in the power plant halls is used. Shuts the line current in 0.05 seconds with a deafening noise.
Construction of the power plant began in 1974. The construction of tunnels was commissioned to teams consisting of Silesian miners. The work ended 5 years later. Unfortunately, already after a year of exploitation, it turned out that the asphalt sealing the upper tank was poorly located. The tank was drained, and the Swiss lay in the position of a new layer. The layer made by them is fine until today.
The power station is open to visitors every Sunday night. Tourists are guided around the power plant by one of its employees.
In addition, in the vicinity of Mount Żar there are 3 water dams forming the Cascade of the Soła River. Lakes piled up by them are an ideal place for water sports.
Official website: http://www.zewpz.pl