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Read the article about the presentation of the GOELRO plan at the Bolshoi Theater and why it was necessary to turn off the electricity in some rooms of the Kremlin.

On December 22, the plan of the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia (GOELRO) turns 100 years old. Preparations for a large-scale project began even before the October Revolution of 1917, and the electrification of Moscow was first discussed back in 1887. Then we signed a contract for the lighting of the first private building – Postnikova’s passage, where the Theater named after M.N. Ermolova.

On Power Engineer’s Day, we will tell you how electricity got into city streets and became a part of everyday life.

Electricity – to factories

Today it is impossible to imagine everyday life without electricity. But initially it was to be used exclusively in factories and factories. An engineer and power engineer, as well as the founder of the ideas that formed the basis of the GOELRO plan, Robert Klasson saw the use of electricity precisely in the facilitation of manual labor and the development of industry.

Who knows, there would be electricity in every home if Robert Klasson hadn’t faced a little problem. In 1913, he built a power station, and he did it quite quickly – in about eight months. And just as quickly I wanted to start using it. But in order to stretch the power line to industrial facilities, it was necessary to agree with the owners of the land on which it was planned to install the poles. How could the inventor bribe them? Only in exchange for electricity – free of charge and for a certain period.

Power plants from the evil one

The state commission for the electrification of Russia was divided into several groups, each of which wrote articles on how the plan would affect different areas of life: transport, agriculture, industry. Robert Klasson predicted that electric trains and subways would soon appear in Moscow, that the city would expand. All of this really came true.

But not all Muscovites were positive about technical progress. Many considered electricity to be a terrible demonic force, were afraid of it and painted protest posters. Muscovites thought that new technologies would negatively affect them, that people would soon become their hostages. Everything unknown is scary, so it was not easy to convince ordinary residents of the benefits of electricity.

Extinguish the Kremlin to ignite Moscow

There is a legend about how the map was demonstrated with the placement of power plants according to the GOELRO plan. Vladimir Lenin asked for the presentation to be clear. For this, the VIII All-Russian Congress of Soviets was organized at the Bolshoi Theater.

Artists, engineers and installers worked for several days on the layout of the map, where the power plants were marked with light bulbs. By December 23, everything was ready. Standing in front of the electrified stand, the chairman of the GOELRO commission Gleb Krzhizhanovsky showed the luminous points with the help of a special pointer. They say that for this it was necessary to partially cut off the electricity in the Kremlin, because there was not enough power. True or not, it is difficult to say now, because no documentary evidence has survived.

It’s impossible?

During his visit to Russia in 1920, the English writer H.G. Wells met with Vladimir Lenin. The author of science fiction novels about non-existent worlds considered the implementation of the plan of the Russian revolutionary impossible.

“In whatever magic mirror I look, I cannot see this Russia of the future, but a short man in the Kremlin has such a gift. He sees how, instead of destroyed railways, new, electrified ones appear, he sees how new highways cut through the whole country, how a renewed and happy, industrialized communist power rises. And during a conversation with me he almost succeeded in convincing me of the reality of his foresight, ”wrote the Englishman.

The book “100 Years of GOELRO”, published by PJSC “Mosenergo” for the anniversary date, contains an excerpt from an article by H.G. Wells, which was later included in the collection about the writer’s journey to the Bolshevik country “Russia in the Dark”.

“In our book we did not give assessments from the point of view of the present day, providing the reader with the opportunity to get acquainted with the conclusions and assessments of the direct participants in this historical process. By the way, Herbert Wells again visited the USSR in 1934 and was literally amazed by what he saw, admitting that the “Kremlin dreamer” was right, ”says Elena Kosheleva, head of the Mosenergo museum group.

Not only light, but also warm

In the process of implementing the GOELRO plan and the economical use of fuel in the 1930s, the concept of district heating appeared.

In fact, the production of heat, that is, the generation of hot steam, is an integral part of the production of electricity. For a long time it was not used in any way and simply got rid of this by-product of the station’s work. The engineers thought that steam could also be useful, so they decided to try using it and hot water for heating.

This progressive solution, the results of which we enjoy in apartments every cold day, was also originally intended exclusively for factories and factories. Later, they decided to use steam for heating houses.

Construction of thermal power plants began in Moscow.

“According to the GOELRO plan, great results were achieved from 1920 to 1935. Thanks to him, new power plants appeared, old ones were reconstructed, and thermal power plants appeared. The profession of power engineering appeared, because the authorities began to think about who would work at the stations. At first there were courses, then educational institutions. A new type of transport has appeared in Moscow – electric trains, metro. This is all a consequence of how everything began to develop, ”adds Elena Kosheleva.

Environmentally friendly power plants

Today, power plants no longer use peat and firewood, as was the case at the beginning of the 20th century at the dawn of the electric era. Since the 1960s, power plants have been switching to natural gas, the most environmentally friendly type of fuel. All the capital’s CHPPs are now running on gas.

It is convenient in terms of fuel delivery and equipment maintenance, but the most important thing is to care for the environment and for the comfort of millions of Moscow residents. All the existing Moscow power plants meet environmental standards, while their capacities are many times higher than those that were considered the pinnacle of technology in 1920.

“The Raushskaya power plant, when it was commissioned at the end of the 19th century, was considered the most modern, it was the largest in Moscow. Its capacity was 3.3 megawatts. For comparison: today the capacity of one combined-cycle power unit at CHPP-20 is 445 megawatts. And the capacity of one large power plant, for example, CHPP-21 or CHPP-26, is about 1800 megawatts, that is, 500 times more than the initial capacity of HPP-1, ”says Elena Kosheleva.

In 2007–2015, seven modern combined-cycle power units with a total capacity of 2.9 gigawatts were commissioned at Mosenergo’s CHPP, which is more than 22 percent of the company’s total installed capacity. The operation of the new CCGT power units has made it possible to increase production efficiency, achieve savings in natural gas, and significantly reduce air emissions.

In recent years, the structure of electricity consumption has also changed. If earlier the main volume of consumption was provided by industrial enterprises, today the largest consumers are the townspeople themselves.

Photos courtesy of the Mosenergo History Museum

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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