Volga Hydroelectric System
Volga Hydroelectric System
the largest complex of hydraulic-engineering structures in Europe. Located on the Volga River. The total capacity of the hydroelectric power plants of the system is approximately 10 giga watts (GW; 10 million kilowatts), and the average annual production is more than 40 billion kilowatt-hours (kW-hr). Seven of the eight hydroelectric power plants planned for the Volga Hydroelectric System were in operation by 1970: the Ivan’kovo, Uglich, Rybinsk, Gorky, Saratov, Lenin Volga, and Volga Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU; one plant—Cheboksary—was under construction.
The construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal (now the Moscow Canal) in 1937 was the beginning of the use of the Volga’s water resources. The main structure of the canal is the Ivan’kov Hydraulic-Engineering Complex, whose dam forms the Volga Reservoir. This complex includes the Ivan’kovo Hydroelectric Power Plant, with a capacity of 30 megawatts (MW; 30,000 kW). In 1935 construction work was begun on the Uglich and Rybinsk hydraulic-engineering complexes. The Uglich complex includes a reinforced-concrete spillway dam, the hydroelectric power plant building, a navigable single-lift lock, and an earthen hydraulic-fill dam. The capacity of the Uglich Hydroelectric Power Plant is 110 MW, and its average annual output of electric power is 212 million kW-hr. It was put into service in 1940 and reached its full capacity in 1941. The Rybinsk Hydraulic-Engineering Complex includes structures on the Volga and Sheksna Rivers. The capacity of the Rybinsk Hydroelectric Power Plant is 330 MW, and its average annual output of electric power is 1.1 billion kW-hr. Located farther down the river, near the city of Gorodets, is the Gorky Hydroelectric Power Plant, with a capacity of 520 MW. The construction of the Cheboksary Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has a planned capacity of 1.4 GW, was begun in 1968. The next stage in the cascade is the Lenin Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant, located above the city of Kuibyshev, with a capacity of 2.3 GW. The capacity of the Saratov Hydroelectric Power Plant (near the city of Balakovo) is 1.29 GW. The Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant, with a capacity of 2.54 GW, is located on the lower course of the Volga (near Volgograd).
As a result of the creation of the Volga Hydroelectric System, a system of reservoirs has been formed that allows the seasonal regulation of the Volga’s discharge according to the needs of the national economy. The hydroelectric power plants of the Volga ensure a supply of cheap electric power to the central regions of the country. They are the supporting complexes of the Unified Power System of the European USSR. A radical improvement of navigational conditions has permitted a significant increase in the cargo turnover of water transport along the Volga, as well as a decrease in the prime cost of haulage. The large reservoirs and hydroelectric power plants have created a reliable base for irrigation and water supply to extensive areas of fertile lands, and they have virtually eliminated flooding of the bottomlands along the lower reaches of the Volga.
V. IU. STEKLOV