Throughout its development, humanity has always exploited available natural resources. In the area of present-day Slovenia, throughout history people have continually commercially exploited the aquatic environment, because water is one of the few natural resources that is here in abundance.
Watercourses were originally exploited as a source of food and as a shipping route, and later also for the transport of cargo or as water power to drive mills and sawmills. With the advent of industrialisation, the demand for water as a driving force increased; for steam engines and later the electrification and transition to mass production increased the demand for electricity, hydropower facilities began to be built.
The Završnica Technical Museum, formerly the Završnica hydropower plant, was the first Slovenian public powerplant. Its construction began in 1911 and by 25 February 1915 it was producing electricity to send to the grid. The plant operated continuously for 90 years. After it stopped the company Savske elektrarne Ljubljana restored the facility and equipment. It was opened to the public in 2005 as a technical museum. The production of electricity has now been assumed by the Moste hydroelectric power station, the first power plant on the Sava river, which is now a modern facility and exploits electricity from the basin of the former HE Završnica. Tours of both power plants are available upon prior arrangement, accompanied by professional guides.
The Završnica hydropower plant consists of a dam in the Završnica valley that forms a reservoir. On the left bank of the dam there is a water tower with barriers equipped with coarse grates. From here a pressure derivation tunnel, with a height of two metres and a length of 800 metres, runs to a surge tank, located above the village of Žirovnica. From the 16-metre-high reinforced concrete basin, water flows out of the lake and drains into a 900m-long pipe into the engine room of the power plant. The engine room is situated in the valley of the Sava River. Originally there were two Pelton turbines installed, which are now on display in the Završnica Technical Museum.
The museum, where one of the original lightbulbs is still on display and working, represents a rich tradition of technical heritage, as well as an inspiring example of coexistence between the environment and energy – the Završnica reservoir with its adjacent sports and recreation centre, and the entire Završnica valley are popular recreation areas.