Included on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) list of electrical facility “milestones” in 2005, the Vucje hydroelectric plant has been operating continuously since 1903. The plant was the first in southern Serbia and the largest in the broader region. (The “milestones” list includes only a handful of European facilities, most of which were the work of several individuals who names are recognizable to those without an interest in electricity, including Franklin and Marconi.)
Recognizing the potential of alternating current in providing reliable electricity, the Leskovac Electric Society formed in 1901. With their eyes trained on the powerful Vucjanka River, the group brought together 150 stockholders to raise capital to finance the building of the Vucje hydroelectric plant. Djordje Stanojevic, a friend of Nikola Tesla, was intimately involved in the project, which is considered responsible for making the Serbian capital one of the first capitals in Europe to be illuminated by hydroelectric power.
By transmitting alternating current of 50 hertz at 7000 volts, which was high for the period of construction, the Vucje was able to transform the regional economy.
Know Before You Go
A few kilometers above Vucje in Leskovac on the Vučjanka River.