Transfo is a former power plant. It first generated electricity in 1911 and remained operational until 2001. The municipality of Zwevegem purchased the site in 2004 for a token price of one Euro and is currently working on its redesignation. The most spectacular of the different projects is probably the reconversion of the oil tank, which will serve as a practice area for deep-sea divers.
Zwevegem was one of the first Belgian municipalities to recognise the advantages of electricity. In April 1911 the municipal authorities partnered with Société de l’Electricité de l’Ouest de la Belgique (the Western Belgian Electricity Company), and a small installation generated the first electric power in October of the same year: enough to illuminate 85 light bulbs.
The plant was in constant expansion and reached its peak power output shortly after the Second World War. It was located by the Bossuit-Kortrijk Canal to facilitate the supply of coal and cooling water.
In 1946, the plant also started to supply steam for industrial purposes and for the heating of public buildings and private residences. In other words, it provided a kind of central heating for the entire municipality.
As the site could not be expanded any further, a new plant was taken into use in Ruien in 1958. However, ‘Den Elentriek’ in Zwevegem remained operational as a back-up unit and as a steam producer until 2001.
In 1999, the site was listed as a townscape. The municipality of Zwevegem is now in the process of redesignating the site, making room for housing, conferences and events, culture and adventure sports. The architecture and the unique turbine collection make Transfo a valuable piece of industrial heritage.
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