Power station between lakes Wanaka and Hawea

A Waikato university academic has investigated the benefits of building a combined hydro-power station and pump storage system between Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. 

Earth and Ocean Sciences Associate Professor Earl Bardsley wants to get Otago residents’ opinions on the possibility of having a power station which could send water between the two lakes, controlling Wanaka water level fluctuations and generating electricity.

It is a PhD project he is supervising, which proposes taking advantage of the fact Lake Wanaka is only 2km from Lake Hawea at ‘the Neck’ but 65 meters lower. 

This enables water transfers between the two lakes via a short tunnel.

“There would have to be some changing of the wording in the Wanaka Preservation Act for this to be considered a possibility, but it’s an interesting hypothetical study,” says Dr Bardsley.

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A similar proposal was investigated 40 years ago prior to the Lake Wanaka Preservation Act and proved to a no go. Contact Energy has recently abandoned plans for further dams on the Clutha River sighting one reason as generation needing to be closer to potential consumers. The PhD boffins are going to need to do some hard sell on this one!


Sounds a great idea, I will watch with this project with considerable interest .


Good idea, "... controlling Wanaka water level fluctuations and generating electricity ...". Sounds like progress we can all agree upon.


How about the North Island starts producing its own power rather then interfering with another pristine landscape which thousands of tourists and locals alike stop to admire every year?


Green Party attack in 3... 2... 1...


Yes tragic but true

By the time they get this through the Environment court we will all be well and truly pushing up daisies

Another disaster for progress

Read the same(only about 100000 times multiplied) for the Westland District Council's claim to have the funding for the Haast-Hollyford Road

We really need to split this Country in two so that the Greens can have the North and the sensible people the South


Why is it always assumed that it’s the Green Party or a “GREENIE/ TREEHUGGER” that opposes this type of proposal. Surely the average Joe Blog with a family would like leave behind some these very special, relatively isolated, iconic picturesque places, rather than adopting the rape, plunder & pillage mentality, just because its technically feasible so power can be transferred 1000klms north.


Hey Rwh, how 'bout letting enterprising souls on the South Island investing their own money to generate revenue without barely ANY visible disruption to the admittedly-pristine landscape? Or is the Christchurch business resurrection right around the corner and nobody needs an income?


Dreams are free for PHD students.l Very few live in the real world and this is a live example. The project has no hope.


Would be interesting to know the efficiency of this (pumping water uphill) versus large battery storage.


Typical. No development anywhere, anytime. Then pontificate about needing sustainable power generation.


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