Available on the market square in Rjukan stands a statue from the town's founder, a noted Norwegian engineer and industrialist known as Mike Eyde, sporting an especially fine moustache. One hands thrust in trouser pocket, another grasping a tightly folded drawing, the truly amazing guy stares northwards over the square in an almost sheer mountainside before him.
Behind him, towards the south, increases the equally sheer 1, 800-metre peak referred to as Gaustatoppen. Between your mountain tops, put up out across the narrow Vestfjord valley, lies the little but when mighty town that Eyde built-in the first many years of the final century, to accommodate the employees for his industrial facilities.
He was plainly a wise guy, Eyde. He utilized the energy from the 100-metre Rjukanfossen waterfall to create hydro-electricity with what was, at that time, the earth's greatest energy plant. He developed technology – one of these bears his title – to create saltpetre by oxidising nitrogen from air, making industrial amounts of hydrogen by water electrolysis.
But there is one factor he could not do: alter the elevation from the sun. Deep in the east-west valley, encircled by high mountain tops, Rjukan and it is 3, 400 occupants have been in shadow for half the entire year. Throughout your day, from late September to mid-March, the city, three hrs north-west of Oslo, isn't dark (well, it's almost, in December and The month of january, however same with the majority of Norwegian), but it is definitely not vibrant either. A little ... flat. A little subdued, a little moderate, a little mono.
Since a week ago, however, Eyde's statue has gazed out upon a sight that the eminent engineer may have found startling. High in mountain opposite, 450 metres over the town, three large, photo voltaic-powered, computer-controlled mirrors continuously track the movement from the sun over the sky, reflecting its sun rays lower onto the square and bathing it in vibrant sunlight. Rjukan – or at best, a little but vital a part of Rjukan – is no more stuck in which the sun don't shine.
"It is the sun!" grins Ingrid Sparbo, disbelievingly, lifting her face towards the light and shutting her eyes from the glare. A upon the market secretary, Sparbo has resided her existence in Rjukan and states people "do kind of get accustomed to the colour tone. You finish up not considering it, really. However this ... This really is so warming. Not only physically, but psychologically. It's psychologically warming."
Two youthful moms wheel their kids in to the square, turn, and briefly bask: a fast hit. On the freezing day, an seniors couple sit wide-eyed on among the half-dozen recently installed benches, smiling in the warmth on their own faces. Children beam. Many individuals take photographs. A store assistant, Silje Johansen, states it's "awesome. Just awesome."
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