Back to start


Sweden's oldest hydro power plants – Olidan (in the Göta Älv river), Porjus (in the Luleälv river) and Älvkarleby (in the Dalälv river) – were all built in the early 20th Century with the main purpose of supplying power to the railways and local industries. This was the start of hydro power development and a milestone in the industrialisation of Sweden.

The Dalälv river runs through the very heart of Sweden's mining industry. Many mills have been built along the river, which has also been used for log-driving on a large scale. Today, Vattenfall has three power plants on the Dalälv river: Näs, Söderfors and Älvkarleby. 

History and technology

Älvkarleby power plant is located eight kilometres from the point where the Dalälv river flows into the Baltic Sea. Älvkarleby was already an important settlement back in the Bronze Age. People were probably drawn to the area by its salmon-fishing, and the river is still popular for sport fishing, even after construction of the power plant. 

Älvkarleby was Vattenfall’s third largest power plant after Olidan in Trollhättan and Porjus in northern Sweden.  The purpose of Älvkarleby power plant was to supply central Sweden with electricity. It was designed by the architect Erik Josephson, who also designed Olidan power plant. Älvkarleby originally had an installed capacity of 70 MW but its capacity has increased over time and is now 125 MW.

The new power plant

New dams were built in around 1990 in similar locations to the old dams. The concrete in the original dams was badly damaged, and construction of the new dams went hand in hand with expansion of the power plant. Between 1988 and 1991, a new power plant was built next to the old one.