This museum is located in an old power plant at the epicenter of an important coal-mining area that operated between 1920 and 1971. It was eventually replaced by a new power plant known as Compostilla I and later Compostilla II. The plant was eventually abandoned, although it remains an important relic of Spanish industrial heritage. The current museum, La fábrica de Luz - Museo de la Energía (Light Factory-Energy Museum), is focused on the important role coal played on the lives of residents from Ponferrada and El Bierzo.
Opened in 2011, its restoration maintained many of the original elements of the plant and it is known for its luminosity. A large crane was used to lift the enormous components of the turbo-alternators into place. Coal arrived by train at the plant. The material then slid down a slope accumulating on a system of hoppers. A network of conveyor belts redirected the materials to the boiler warehouse where the combustion of the coal would heat the water provided from the river Sil.
When steam reached the turbine hall, there was a control panel and a cabin that provided insulation for workers due to the high heat and noise generated by the turbines. The mechanical energy that was converted into electricity was then housed in four large transformers.
A visit to the museum allows visitors to follow this entire process. The trip ends in the oldest building on site that is now a restaurant.
The history of the museum was reconstructed with the help and contributions of more than 200 collaborators. Featured throughout the museum are recorded testimonies from former workers describing their work inside the factory.
Know Before You Go
The museum is situated on the outskirts of Ponferrada, province of León. Avenida de la Libertad, 46. Schedule: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday: closed.