THE ABANDONED POWER PLANT IN BELGIUM
‘Centrale Cockerill’ is a power station in the industrial region of the Belgium city of Liège. From here energy was distributed to the big factories of the Cockerill group in the neighborhood.
The first ironworks in Liège were founded in 1809. John Cockerill and his brother James revolutionized the steel industry by using blast furnaces and coke instead of traditional charcoal. These inventions would be the basis for his new company, John Cockerill & Cie. The company was established in Seraing in 1817.
Eventually, over the next decades, many more metallurgical plants and foundries were built in this area. In essence, they became an integral part of Wallonia’s industrial backbone, the sillon industriel. In the 1970s and 1980s, the steel industry was hit hard by increasing competition from low-wage countries and an oversupply on the market. As a result, in the early 2000s, the first factories closed down. For this reason, this power plant was partly shut down in 2009. In this case, the power distribution part of the station was not shut down initially. Eventually, the last transformer hall was closed down in 2018, leaving the site completely abandoned.
During my visit, the turbines are already removed. Also, the meters are mostly gone, stolen by metal thieves. I visited ‘Centrale Cockerill’ in 2017 and 2019. More abandoned power plants can be found here.