Ilulissat hydropower plant

The Ilulissat hydropower plant is located in Disco Bay, West Greenland in the Arctic at 69°N. The installed power is 22,5 MW.

The power station supplies the town of Ilulissat (4.500 inhabitants) with electricity, substituting diesel generators thus making the town independent of imported fuel.

The Ilulissat Hydroelectric Project is the third one in Greenland with Verkís as the main designer. This follows the realization of the Qorlortosuaq (7,5 MW, in operation 2006) and Sisimiut (15 MW, in operation 2009). All three projects have been realized by Pihl/Ístak as the main contractor. The town of Ilulissat is located on the west cost of Greenland in the Disco Bay. The power station is located in a fjord some 45 km northeast of the town.

The project harnesses the discharge from two natural glacial lakes in the area “Paakitsup Akuliarusersua” with storage obtained by drawdown of the water levels by respectively 30 and 50 m from the present. Water is diverted from the upper lake through a transfer tunnel controlled by valves. The lower lake serves as the intake reservoir and from there water is diverted through an intake structure equipped with bulkhead gates. From these the water is conveyed through an inclined unlined head race tunnel, partly in permafrost, down to three 7,5 MW Francis turbines on a vertical axis in an underground powerhouse. The powerhouse is at sea level some 400 m inside the mountain. Adjacent to the powerhouse is a transformer- and a switchgear cavern. Water from the turbines empties into a tail race tunnel which again opens into the sea.

A concrete service building is located at the access tunnel portal, housing service facilities and storages for the power station and its personnel. In addition, the building includes fully equipped accommodation for ten. The project also includes a harbour and a harbour building housing the emergency diesel engine and transport vehicles. A substation equipped with two transformers, switchgear and the pertinent controls is located in the town of Ilulissat.

Verkís services was project planning, evaluation of site, civil work design (excavation, concrete, hydraulic etc.), mechanical design (metal, piping, ventilation etc.), high- and medium voltage systems design, control-, safety and communication systems design, tender documents and coordination for el-mech systems, commissioning and coordination and lead engineering of the design.

Technical information


Ilulissat, Greenland


22.5 megawatts

Project period:

2009 – 2014


World goals