In a small neighborhood known as Monceau-sur-Sambre, within the Belgian town of Charleroi, sits an abandoned power station, the magnificent abandoned cooling tower of which still looms over the town no longer creating electricity, but providing plenty of dystopian vistas.
Power Plant IM was originally built in 1921 and when it was finished, it was one of the largest coal burning power plants in Belgium. Water would be let into the cooling tower where it would be cooled by the wind that swept in from portals in the base of the tower, releasing billowing columns of hot air. By 1977 the power plant and its massive tower was the main source of energy in the Charleroi area and is said to have been able to cool down 480,000 gallons of water per minute. By the 1970s new components were even added to the power plant that could also use gas power. However the power plant’s days in the sun were numbered.
After years of service, a report found that Power Plant IM was responsible for 10% of the total CO2 emissions in Belgium. Due to this, protests from Greenpeace in 2006 gave the power plant a lot of negative attention and it closed in 2007.
After it was closed down, there were reports of looting by metal scrappers, but today there are often security guards The power plant still lies abandoned, and is said to be scheduled for demolition, but until that time it continues to stand as a popular location for urban explorers.
Update September 6, 2016: The door to power plant itself have been locked. (such a shame) If you are a daredevil enough, you may enter the plant by climbing from under, if you find a good spot
Update April 2, 2017: All doors (tower, plant, gasometer) are open. Feel free to climb anyway. The power plant itself (not the cooling tower) is in demolition. It is still possible to explore it inside, but take at least one backup person with you as it is dangerous due to its state.
Update May 4, 2017: Unfortunately the door to the cooling tower has been sealed off so there is currently no way of entering the site.