The Rochebut dam on the Cher, near Montluçon, was completed in 1909. It marks an important stage in the history of hydroelectric power in France. For the first time ever, the energy was not used in the immediate vicinity of the structure, but 15 km from the site. In this it prefigures the large-scale commercialisation that was to be undertaken in the 1920s.
Rising to 56 metres, the dam retains 26 million cubic metres. The plant, located 300 metres downstream, can develop power output of between 4,000 and 10,000 CV depending on the height of the head.
Another important characteristic of this project is the fact that the site was extensively photographed. This allows us to have at our disposal today an extraordinary record of the working conditions at the start of the XXth century. Mechanisation was still limited, manual working was a major component, the coffer dam appears rudimentary - in all, few changes since the age when the Furens dam had been built.