The unique history of Øvre Forsland closely intertwines with the development of the Helgeland region. The first plan for development of the Forsland River goes back to 1913. Martin Kristoffersen Fisknæs, a newly appointed mayor of Stamnes Herred County acquired a significant share of the rights for the Forsland watercourse, along with five business partners. It is believed that already in that time as mayor he was aware of a future power needs. A blueprint for the development of a new power plant was first presented to Stamnes parish as early as 1916. However, the construction of the plant was continuously delayed and the actual process did not start until the early 1930s.
The power plant, called Sjøfossen, was completed by 1939 and supplied two cities in the region, Leirfjord and Sandnessjøen, with electricity until World War II. During the war, Germans needed more electricity in the wintertime and therefore wanted to develop and manage the water resources more efficiently by building a dam. The development of reservoir capacity during the war facilitated the construction of another power plant in the watercourse, Storfossen, and the facility was completed in 1949.
In the 1950s, Midt-Helgeland (later Helgeland Kraft) power organization acquired Sandnessjøen, the owner of the two power plants on the Forsland river. A decade later, production in Sjøfossen power plant stopped and was later demolished, while the Storfossen power plant remained in operation until the late 1990s.
In the early 1990s, possibilities to increase the electricity production were explored and the plan for the construction of two power plants under the names Forsland and Øvre Forsland were examined. However, only Forsland power plant was approved for further development as the construction of the other plant would lead to negative consequences on reindeer herding. The Forsland power plant was ready to operate in 2003.
In 2005, all parties agreed on a new plan for the Øvre Forsland power plant, which would minimize the impact it had on reindeer herding. The formal process to develop and build the plant was finalized in 2012. The modern power plant was ready to operate in 2015, more than 100 years after Martin Kristoffersen Fisknæs first presented his idea. The old Storfossen power plant was transformed into an idyllic picnic area a couple of years ago, and currently people from all over the country are eager to visit this magnificent area.