Hari Hari hydro scheme powers up

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Westpower threw the switch yesterday on the Amethyst River hydro electric power scheme, at Hari Hari.
Chairman Mike Newcombe said it heralded a return to electricity generation for the West Coast-owned company, which was forced to sell its generating assets in 1999, following reform of the electricity sector.
Westpower abandoned the original Amethyst hydro scheme in the 1980s, and only in recent years decided to build a new scheme on the river.
“Successful commissioning of the scheme is the result of nine years of planning and design, which included a three-year construction phase,” he said in a statement.
“The support of the locals, and also the Department of Conservation has been instrumental in ensuring that this important piece of community-owned West Coast electricity infrastructure has been able to be built.”
Westpower chief executive Rob Caldwell said a large proportion of work went to local firms.
“There have been a number of local contractors involved, including MBD Contracting from Greymouth who completed the roading works, with Charleston-based Geotech providing the tunnelling expertise and Gibb Construction Ltd from Franz Josef Glacier building the intake. Our contractors have worked in often extremely trying conditions while still maintaining safety and delivering a quality product.
“Kidson Construction from Nelson and Westland Contracting completed the penstock install outside of the tunnel, while Electronet not only designed but built and commissioned all of the electrical works associated with the scheme. John Griffin Builders built the powerhouse which houses the generator, and the turbine.”