The Volga Hydroelectric Station or Volga GES also known as the 22nd Congress of the CPSU Stalingrad/Volgograd Hydroelectric Power Station, is the largest hydroelectric station in Europe and is the last of the Volga-Kama Cascade of dams, before the Volga River flows into the Caspian Sea. Today, Volga Hydroelectric Station is operated by the electricity company RusHydro.

Technical details

Volga Hydroelectric Station consists of a 725-metre long, 44-metre high concrete dam that crosses the Volga river. Supporting it is a 3250-metre long landfilled dam with a maximum height of 47 metres. The Station also offers railway and road crossings of the Volga.

The present power rating of the station is 2,582.5 MW and annual energy output of 12.3 billion KW-hours. There are a total of 22 generators. 17 generators produce 115 MW each (four of which have recently received repairs and overhauls), three produce 125.5 MW each and two produce 120 MW. Three fishery paths drive additional 11 MW units each, but at present two are not functioning. Thus the initial output is slightly downrated.

The 4.9 kilometre dam forms the Volgograd reservoir. At present the station is managed by OAO Volzhskaya GES that is owned by OAO GidroOGK, a daughter company of the state organisation RAO AES Rossii.

The generators of the power plant are connected to the power grid in a somewhat unusual way as the machine transformers of the generators serve also as inverter transformers of the static inverter plant of HVDC Volgograd-Donbass, which is situated on the dam. In opposite to other static inverter plants, it has no harmonic filters.

Economical value

The new plant played a decisive role in the development of the Lower Volga region and the Donbass, as well as uniting the large energetic system of the Central, Volga, and Southern economic regions. The new dam also allowed for the Volga to become navigable, allowing for a path from Saratov to Astrakhan and the Caspian. In addition, there were projects for the irrigation of the excessive adjacent dry region of the left bank Volga south of it, particularly the West Kazakhstan Province.

The power generated by the station is used primarily for the city of Volgograd (220 KV) and for Moscow (500 KV) and for Donbass via the only long distance HVDC-line in Russia, the HVDC Volgograd-Donbass.


One of the most negative results that the dam caused was that it disrupted the traditional path of Caspian fish migration to their breeding grounds. The most affected became the beluga, crucial to the Black Caviar industry. The fishery canal turned out to be inefficient, and from 1962 to 1967 the annual rate was 15% of the pre-dam. The other major effect of the dam is that it formed one of the largest reservoirs, which amounts for a behemoth volume 31.5 cubic kilometres of water and stretches 540 km long, and up to 17 wide with a massive 3,117 square kilometre surface area. As a result numerous settlements and fertile lands were lost.

Volga Hydroelectric Power Station
Official name Волжская ГЭС
Locale Volga, Russia
Coordinates 48°49′34″N 44°40′19″E / 48.82611°N 44.67194°E / 48.82611; 44.67194Coordinates: 48°49′34″N 44°40′19″E / 48.82611°N 44.67194°E / 48.82611; 44.67194
Construction began 6 August 1950
Opening date 10 September 1961
Length 725 m (2,379 ft)
Height 44 m (144 ft)
Impounds Volga River
Creates Volgograd Reservoir
Capacity 31.5 km3 (8 cu mi)
Surface area 3,117 km2 (1,203 sq mi)
Power station
Type No
Turbines 17 × 115.0 MW
03 × 125.5 MW
02 × 120.0 MW
03 × 011.0 MW
Installed capacity 2,582.5 MW
Maximum capacity 2,604.5 MW
Annual generation 12,300 GWh