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  28.08.2018, 13:22h

123 years ago, electricity generated at Skradinski buk lit up the streets of Šibenik


In addition to the many gifts the Krka has given man along its banks, light it one of the greatest.

At the end of the 19th century, before any of the other world metropolises, Šibenik received electrical street lighting. On 28 August 1895, the first complete alternating current electricity system in Croatia was put into operation.

This was a complete system of generation, transmission and distribution of multiphase alternating current, consisting of the Krka hydroelectric plant at Skradinski buk, the power longlines from the Krka River to Šibenik, and then to the customers in Šibenik.

The project was designed and executed by Šibenik mayor Ante Šupuk, in cooperation with the city council and supervisor Vjekoslav pl. Meichsner. Šupuk was a visionary, and thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit and political connections, he led the economic and cultural revival of Šibenik in the late 19th century.

The architectural complex of the hydroelectric plant consists of two parts: the lower, underwater part where the turbine is positioned, and the upper part for the plant and tower. The electric plant initially contained one Girard vertical turbine with transmission to a horizontal axle generator of dual-phase alternating current. This turbine used only 3,2 m³/s of water, though the concession approved an amount of 25.81 m³/s.

The generator charge was transmitted to Šibenik via an 11 km long power line on four towers. In addition to public lighting, the Šibenik hydropower plant also powered grin mills, oil mills, the pasta factory and later the theatres, cafes and hotels were connected to the network, followed by the first households. For the city, the introduction of electrical lighting was also financially as the annual cost of 5000 forinths was half the cost of the most contemporary and economic petroleum lighting. In 1913, the work of the old hydroelectric plant was ceased on the basis of a contract, and at the start of World War I, the military authorities dissembled the plant in the old Krka hydroelectric dam and the two copper power lines to Šibenik to use these materials for the war effort.

Humans have always wanted to use the water running over the falls for power. As on many rivers, the first preindustrial structures powered by water – mills – were built on the Krka River. At the end of the 19th century, the water power of the Krka began to be used for the first industrial plants – hydroelectric plants. Along the course of the Krka River, from 1895 to 1911, four hydroelectric plants were constructed on the river: Krka HPP (1895) and Jaruga HPP (1904) at Skradinski buk, Roški Slap HPP (1911) and Miljacka HPP (1907). Plans were also in place to build two additional hydropower plants at Skradinski buk and Bilušića buk, but these were never constructed. Today, three of these four plants continue to generate electricity and are part of the single electrification system of the Republic of Croatia.