This One's For All The Hydroelectric Engineering Geeks Out There…

… or all the James Bond villians out there. I know I’ve got some of both in my readership.

Turbine Room, West Arm Power Station

I forgot to mention this during my Doubtful Sound post. On our Doubtful Sound tour our bus also went inside the West Arm power station a couple hundred meters below Lake Manapouri. Yes, below the lake. It’s not a dam like most power plants.. Lake Manapouri is a few hundred meters above sea level, so they just pipe the water out up top through this thingy here:

West Arm Power Station, Lake Manapouri

And then drop the water down to sea level through pipes dug vertically down into the bedrock. At the bottom it shoots through that room in the first picture, the turbine hall. Great place to plot nefarious deeds. Then it flows through these enormous tunnels out to Doubtful Sound like 10km away. There was an exhibit about how they blasted and drilled all those tunnels. Lotta work. It’s a pretty crazy operation they’re running there.

It’s even crazier because all that electricity generated is only used by a single aluminum smelting plant in Invercargill, like 100km to the south. That’s a lot of work to go through to smelt aluminum, but I guess they need a lot of cheap power.

As the saying goes: “He who smelt it… first needed to build a ridiculous subterranean hydroelectric power plant joining a mountain lake and a fjord.”

Hahahahahahahahhahahahaha. I kill me.

Anyway, it was pretty cool to take a huge bus down this little tunnel spiraling down deeper and deeper beneath the earth. I guess you sorta have to like geeky machines and stuff. I thought it was cool. Not all my posts have to be all pretty pictures and buttercups. So there.

View Comments »« Hide Comments

A Comment!


  1. Alana
    Apr 30th, 2007at4:35 am

    “He who denied it supplied a lot of hydroelectric power.”

    This has been Unnecessary Joke-Addendum Hour.

 

Comments Are Closed