The dramatic majesty of the mountains immediately captures the eye of first-time visitors to Aurland. The area holds vast water resources due to numerous freshwater lakes and high waterfalls that dot the highlands. The hydropower project at Aurland is an elegant network of dams, tunnels and power stations. The same water is used repeatedly as it passes through the various power stations on its way down from the highlands to the bottom of the fjord.
The development of hydropower began in Aurland in the summer of 1969. Aurland had no roads at that time, so road construction was the first order of business. More than 160 km of service roads were built through extremely difficult terrain. Where it was not possible to build a road, construction was made possible by using helicopters.
Today, the Aurland Valley bears few signs of one of the largest power developments Norway has ever seen and is widely considered a gem of Norwegian nature. The panoramic views remain unchanged, and visitors as well as the locals have been enjoying the scenery as before.
The watercourses in the area are regulated to ensure there are no adverse effects on the population of salmon and trout in the waters. According to Norway’s hydro concession guidelines, Hafslund E-CO has an obligation to stock 10 000 salmon and 30 000 sea-trout smolt, but this has been put on hold, and new and more environmentally safe mitigation works are being tested.