Whirinaki Power Station

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Whirinaki Power Station
Whirinaki Power Station is located in New Zealand
Whirinaki Power Station
Location of Whirinaki Power Station in New Zealand
Country New Zealand
Location Whirinaki, Hawke's Bay
Coordinates 39°22′34″S 176°53′36″E / 39.37611°S 176.89333°E / -39.37611; 176.89333Coordinates: 39°22′34″S 176°53′36″E / 39.37611°S 176.89333°E / -39.37611; 176.89333
Status Operational
Commission date 2004
Owner(s) Contact Energy
Operator(s) Contact Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Diesel
Cogeneration? No
Combined cycle? No
Power generation
Units operational 3
Make and model Pratt & Whitney
Nameplate capacity 155 MW

The Whirinaki Power Station is an open cycle gas turbine power station at Whirinaki, Hawke's Bay in New Zealand.

FT4 plant[edit]

The NZED constructed a 220 MW gas turbine power station on this site, which began operation in 1978.[1] This power station comprised four Pratt & Whitney twinpac units, each with two FT4 gas turbines (based on the JT4A). This plant was fueled with diesel, which meant electricity generation was expensive and the plant operated very rarely.

In 1993, one twin-pac unit was moved to construct a gas fired cogeneration plant at the Te Awamutu dairy factory.

In 2001, the remaining three units were sold and removed to become three of the six units at the Valley Power Peaking Facility in Australia.

FT8 plant[edit]

Following national power shortages in 2001 and 2003 due to low hydro lake levels, the New Zealand government commissioned Contact Energy to build reserve generation on the Whirinaki site. This plant was intended to be a generator of last resort, providing back up generation when needed, usually during years of low hydro lake levels, but also when there was a shortfall in generation reserves on the electricity market, such as after the failure of a major power station or the HVDC Inter-Island link. The power station cost $150 million and was opened in June 2004.[2]

The diesel powered power station was opened in 2004, and comprises three Pratt & Whitney twinpacs, each with two FT8 gas turbines. Designed to be a standby power station, it has a total capacity of 155MW. The power station was owned by the Government but maintained and operated by Contact Energy.[3]

The station was due to be transferred to Meridian Energy on the 1 October 2010 as part of the 2010 electricity market reforms. Meridian however refused to purchase the station, resulting in the New Zealand Government announced in December 2010 it will sell the plant by open tender.[4]

In 2011, the Ministry of Economic Development offered the plant for sale by competitive tender.[5] It was purchased by Contact Energy on 22 December 2011.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martin, John E. (1998). People, politics and power stations : electric power generation in New Zealand, 1880-1998. 
  2. ^ "Whirinaki power plant adds to electricity supply security" (Press release). 1 June 2004. 
  3. ^ "Whirinaki power station opened". TVNZ. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  4. ^ Gerry Brownlee (17 December 2010). "Whirinaki plant to be sold". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Contact Energy to acquire Whirinaki generation plant" (Press release). Origin Energy. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Termination of the Reserve Generation Capacity Agreement – Transfer of Whirinaki Ownership" (Press release). Electricity Authority. 22 December 2011.