The 106MW Ohakuri station (with an annual output of around 400GWh/year) is a core part of the Waikato Hydro System which produces around 4000GWh/year, and is the North Island’s most significant source of hydro generation.

Mighty River Power is undertaking a re-investment programme in the Waikato Hydro System of around $500M over the next ten years. The programme is needed to deliver increased efficiency and capacity and support the reliable operation of the assets as part of the Company’s flexible generation portfolio.

Four 26-tonne turbines, manufactured by Toshiba, are being installed by both Toshiba and MB Century over the next two years as part of a $28M refurbishment and upgrade project at Ohakuri.

“The pioneers of the Ohakuri hydro station which commenced operations in 1961 did a tremendous job with the efficiency and reliability obtained. Modern technology allows us to lift performance and capture more electricity from the same amount of water,” said Fraser Whineray, General Manager Operations at Mighty River Power. He added that, at their peak, the original runners at the project operated at efficiency levels of approximately 89%. The replacement with new equipment will see efficiency rise to around 96% and increase current generation output by more than 28GWh per year on average.