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Coleridge Power Station

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Coleridge Hydroelectric Power Station was the New Zealand Government’s first major generation scheme, commissioned in 1914.

At a Glance

LOCATION: Coleridge Catchment

Commissioned 1914

Max Capacity 39 MW

Annual output 270 GWh

Over the past 100 years, the iconic South Island Power Station had multiple upgrades and efficiency enhancements, boosting average annual output to the present 270 GWh. Lake Coleridge is a popular recreational fishery, and we’re committed to the environmental health of the catchment, supporting Lake Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust and Whakamatau Eel Management Trust.

Studies into the suitability of the Coleridge area for hydroelectric generation were completed in 1906. Construction of the Power Station and dam that stand today began in 1911, with commissioning in 1914. 

Initially the Scheme had three turbines. Additional turbines were installed in 1917, 1922 and 1925. The 1930 diverting of the Acheron River into Lake Coleridge increased the water catchment, as did the 1977 diverting of the Wilberforce River. 

More recently, we have upgraded or replaced a lot of Coleridge’s generation machinery, creating numerous efficiency gains. In 2008, for example, we completed a major project that delivered 12% efficiency gains for the Power Station’s G8 and G9 Turbines. 

Such enhancements have boosted Coleridge Power Station’s capacity to 39 MW and its average annual output to 270 GWh. 

Environment and recreation 

Lake Coleridge is a popular recreational fishing and boating destination. Our commitment to the environmental values of the wider Coleridge catchment is anchored by our contributions and membership to the Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust, Whakamatau Eel Management Trust, and Rakaia Environmental Enhancement Society.

As part of our kaitiaki role, we have also installed a fish pass at the Wilberforce River diversion, and monitor the lake’s water clarity, and pH levels.

Due to the Coleridge catchment being a predomintley braided river environment, Trustpower has worked with BRaid (Braided River Aid) on environmental projects over a number of years, particularly with respect to native bird species which nest in the river. These projects include reular weed spraying and willow removal on the Harper Delta to increase nesting areas and reduce predator habitat, and year round predator trapping to reduce populations of introduced species that prey on endangered and threatened native and endemic bird species. We have also assisted with installing signage to increase awareness of birds in the area when it comes to recreational activity in the riverbed. Trustpower is recognised by BRaid as a bronze accredited partner for this work.

Trustpower also provide educational tours (by arrangement), public access to the river, boat access and a freedom camping area, with toilets and clean water facilities at the head of the lake. 

New Resource Consents for the existing scheme were granted in 1996, for a 35 year term, these will expire in 2031.

Coleridge Lake level

Please click here to view Coleridge Lake levels.

 Coleridge power station   

Coleridge Power Station
Coleridge Power Station

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