Developing a feasibility study to upgrade the operations of a long-standing hydro power station
It’s easy to forget that some renewable energy sources have been around for a long time. The Waipori hydro power scheme servicing Dunedin has been operating since 1908, and through its life regular technology upgrades have kept it in good operating condition. Looking for new upgrades to meet modern demands, Manawa Energy asked us to review the existing switchgear and related systems in the Waipori 2A hydro power station, one of four making up the larger energy scheme. Our role was to deliver a feasibility study, concept design, and cost estimate for the upgrade of the high and low voltage switchgear in the facility.
After an initial condition assessment and extensive stakeholder consultation, we developed a plan that meets today’s operating needs and conditions, provides minimal community disruption, and improves the structural integrity of the switchgears and associated equipment. Major challenges included reviewing old, and in some cases hard to find, plans of the plant, as well as defining the scope of works required to get the plant up to code and with increased resilience—and we balanced all of that with costs and potential risk to operations.
Once completed and implemented, the new switchgear will contribute towards another successful equipment upgrade.
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