Dad, this one's for you - Manapouri Hydro Station

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, January 26, 2013


On our day trip tpday to Dountful Sounds at Te Anau,we stopped at Lake Manapouri Hydroelectricity station - the biggest in NZ.

The station mainly feeds a smelting plant but if it didn't, could generate enough energy for the whole South island! 

Some info for you (we also got you an info book - you can see it in the pics!)

Manapouri Power
is an underground hydroelectric power station on the western arm
of Lake Manapouri in
Fiordland National Park, in the South Island of New Zealand. At 850 MW
installed capacity (although limited to 800 MW due to resource consent
limits[3]), it is the
largest hydroelectric power station in New Zealand, and the second largest power
station in New Zealand. The station is noted for the controversy and
environmental protests by the Save Manapouri Campaign against the
raising the level of Lake Manapouri to increase the station's head, which
galvanised New Zealanders and were one of the foundations of the New Zealand
environmental movement.
Completed in 1971,
Manapouri was largely built to supply electricity to the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter near Bluff, some
160 km (99 mi) to the southeast, as well as into the South Island transmission
network. The station utilises the 230-metre (750 ft) drop between the western
arm of Lake Manapouri and the Deep Cove branch of the Doubtful Sound 10 km
(6.2 mi) away to generate electricity. The construction of the station required
the excavation of almost 1.4 million tonnes of hard rock to build the machine
hall and a 10 km tailrace tunnel, with a second parallel tailrace tunnel
completed in 2002 to increase the station's capacity.
Since April 1999, the
power station has been owned and operated by state-owned electricity
generator Meridian

The power station
machine hall was excavated from solid granite rock 200 metres below the level of
Lake Manapouri. Two tailrace tunnels take the water that passes through the
power station to Deep Cove, a branch of Doubtful Sound, 10 km
away. Access to the power station is via a two-kilometre vehicle-access tunnel
which spirals down from the surface, or a lift that drops 193 m down from the control room above
the lake. There is no road access into the site; a regular boat service ferries
power station workers and tourists 35 km across the lake from Pearl
, at the eastern end of the lake.
The original
construction of the power station cost NZ$135 million (NZ$1.95 billion in 2008 dollars),[4] involved almost 8
million man hours to construct, and claimed the lives of 16 workers.[1]
Soon after the power
station began generating at full capacity in 1972, engineers confirmed a design
problem. Greater than anticipated friction between the water and the tailrace
tunnel walls meant reduced hydrodynamic head. For 30 years,
until 2002, station operators risked flooding the powerhouse if they ran the
station at an output greater than 585 MW (with high lake level and a low tide
the station could generate up to 603MW), far short of the designed peak capacity
of 700 MW. Construction of a second tailrace tunnel in the late 1990's, 10 km
long and 10 metres in diameter, finally solved the problem and increased
capacity to 850MW. The increased exit flow also increased the effective head,
allowing the turbines to generate more power without using more water.The first surveyors
mapping out this corner of New Zealand noted the potential for hydro generation
in the 178-metre drop from the lake to the Tasman Sea at Doubtful Sound. The idea of building a power
station was first formulated by Peter Hay, the Superintending Engineer of the
Public Works Department, and Lemuel Morris Hancock, the Electrical Engineer and
General Superintendent of the Transmission Department of the California Gas and
Electric Company during their November 1903 inspection of Lakes Manapouri and Te
Anau. Each of the 1904 reports by Hay and Hancock noted the hydraulic potential
of the lake systems, being so high above sea level, and while the rugged
isolation of the region meant that it would be neither practical nor economic to
generate power for domestic consumption, the engineers realised that the
location and scale of the project made it uniquely suited to electro-industrial
developments such as electro-chemical or electro-metallurgical production.
In January 1926, a Wellington-based syndicate of ten businessmen headed by
Joseph Orchiston and Arthur Leigh Hunt, New Zealand Sounds Hydro-Electric
Concessions Limited
, was granted by the government via an Order in Council
the rights to develop the waters which discharged into Deep Cove, Doubtful
Sound, and the waters of Lake Manapouri, to generate in total some 300,000
horsepower. The company attempted to attract Australian, British and American
finance to develop the project, which would have required the construction of a
powerhouse and factory complex in Deep Cove, with accommodation for an estimated
2,000 workers and wharf facilities, with the complex producing atmospheric
nitrogen in the form of fertiliser and munitions. Various attempts to finance
the scheme were not successful, with the water rights lapsing and the company
fading into obscurity by the 1950s.
In 1955 the modern
history of Manapouri starts, when Harry Evans, a New Zealand geologist with Consolidated Zinc
Proprietary Ltd
identified a commercial deposit of bauxite in Australia on the west coast of Cape York
, near Weipa. It turned out to be the largest
deposit of bauxite in the world yet discovered. In 1956 The Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation Pty
, later known as Comalco, was formed to develop the bauxite deposits. The
company started investigating sources of large quantities of cheap electricity
needed to reduce the alumina recovered from the bauxite into
aluminium. Comalco settled on Manapouri as that source of power and Bluff as the site
of the smelter. The plan was to refine the bauxite to alumina in Queensland,
ship the alumina to New Zealand for smelting into metal, then ship it away to

Will bring info booklet home for you xxxxx
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