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Waipori Power Scheme

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Waipori Hydroelectric Power Scheme lies south west of Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand. Hydroelectricity was first generated here in 1907 to power Dunedin. Down a steep and rocky gorge, there are now four Power Stations, delivering an average annual output of 192 GWh. The Scheme’s reservoir, Lake Mahinerangi, is a popular sports fishery, while downstream, Waipori River is a valuable habitat for trout and native bird species.

At a Glance

LOCATION: WAIPORI RIVER

Commissioned 1907

Max Capacity 83 MW

Annual output 192 GWh

Waipori’s four Stations sit in a narrow and rocky gorge, which plunges 165 metres (m) over just 4 kilometres (km), providing plenty of fall for the water to drive the turbines. Above, there’s a 27km long valley plateau, which is ideal for Lake Mahinerangi.

Waipori 1A Power Station delivers 10 MW; Waipori 2A delivers 58 MW; Waipori 3 delivers 7.6 MW; and Waipori 4 delivers 8 MW. The Scheme’s total average annual electricity output is 192 GWh. 

Back in 1907, the water was diverted out of the Waipori River by a 3m timber dam and carried to the Power Station along a 2.7km flume of native timber. Two 1,000kW generators were driven by pelton wheels: supplying electricity throughout Dunedin. 

The deep stream hydro scheme channels water flowing from an existing deep stream diversion, impounds that water in a storage reservoir, and then allows the water to be released through canals containing two 205MW generating units to lake Mahinerangi. The scheme has a total average annual output of 23GWh and was commissioned in 2008.

Environment and recreation 

Lake Mahinerangi is a popular spot for recreational fishing. Further downstream, Waipori River is a valuable habitat for trout and native bird species. 

In Maori, Waipori means ‘dark water’, this describes how the water is often stained by peat swamps at the headwaters. 

In 2003, the Scheme was granted new Resource Consents for a further 35 years, it is due for renewal in 2038.

Waipori Lake level

Please click here to view Waipori Lake levels.

Waipori Dam
Waipori Dam

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