The hydroelectric plant was built in 1972. With a production capacity of 6000 MW, it ranks among the ten most powerful hydraulic plants in the world and ranks second in Russia.
The 124m high dam forms a huge reservoir of 2,000sq-km. This is where the only boat lift of Russian was built in 1982. The engineers of the hydroelectric plant made a few ecologic mistakes. The area that would never be covered in ice was supposed to stretch on 20km. Instead it stretched on 200km which strongly influenced the climate and ecologic situation of the region.
The construction of the plant resulted in the flooding of vast farmlands and forced many people to move away. The plant is depicted on the 10 rubles bills printed in 1997.