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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 fishery. Our commitment to the environmental values of the wider Coleridge catchment is underlined by our membership to the Lake Coleridge Habitat Enhancement Trust and Whakamatau Eel Management Trust. We installed a fish pass at the Wilberforce River diversion; we monitor the lake’s water levels, clarity, pH levels, temperature and more. 

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

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