Skien watercourse system, also known as Telemark watercourse, encompasses around two thirds of the rivers in Telemark county before passing Skien and running into the Frierfjord. Skagerak Kraft produces power from this watercourse system in Seljord-Bø, Tuddal-Hjartdal, Tinnelva and Skien.
Skien watercourse system with pertaining catchment area extends across the whole of Telemark county into the Hardangervidda plateau and across to Hordaland and Buskerud counties. The watercourse is characterised by small differences in height far inland, but large differences in height up to the mountain plateaus.
Sundsbarm Power Plant is Skagerak Kraft’s largest wholly-owned power plant and is situated in Seljord. The water from Sundsbarm Power Plant runs into Seljordsvannet lake, down through Bø and into Norsjø lake. The water from the power plants in the Hjartdal area (Mydalen, Bjordalen and Hjartdøla) runs into the Heddalsvannet lake. The same applies to the power plants (Årlifoss, Grønvollfoss and Svelgfoss) in Tinnelva river, which get their water from Tinnsjøen lake.
Historically, Skien watercourse system and the Telemark Canal played an important role in transport between coastal and inland areas. The watercourse is closely related to settlements and industrial and cultural development in the municipalities of Telemark county. Whetstone from Eidsborg is among Norway’s oldest export products. Logging, timber floating and whetstone export in the Skien watercourse system led to the growth of Skien and surrounding area around 1,000 years ago.
Today, Telemark Canal from Dalen to Skien is known to many as the waterway with numerous locks. The veteran boats Victoria and Henrik Ibsen transport tourists from Skien each day in the summer up the locks to Bandak lake and on to Dalen at 72 metres.
*The figures refer to plants where Skagerak Kraft holds an ownership interest.