Story: Hydroelectricity

Dunedin’s electricity

Dunedin’s Waipori hydroelectric plant discharges water from its Pelton wheel turbines in 1907. Most New Zealand hydroelectricity is generated using Francis turbines, which rely on water pressure, while Pelton turbines are driven by the water’s velocity, or speed.

The Waipori scheme, an early private/public partnership, ran into a number of teething problems. Sheep dislodged rocks which damaged the flume along which water for the station ran, there was no water storage, and the river flow did not allow both generators to run at full capacity continuously. By 1948, when station engineer Frank Collins was interviewed, the scheme was effectively rebuilt. It included the first remote controlled power station in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Mobile Unit. Waipori hydro-electric scheme/Reference number MUCDR114 trk 7)

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Otago Daily Times
Reference: Otago Witness, 20 March 1907

Permission of the Otago Daily Times must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John E. Martin, 'Hydroelectricity - Hydroelectricity development', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 May 2022)

Story by John E. Martin, published 11 Mar 2010