1992: Electricity starts to flow at Clyde power station

May 28, Clyde: The Clyde power station has begun generating power into the national grid, 15 years after dam construction began, but it will not contribute enough to ease a predicted power shortage within the next two months.

The commissioning engineer, Mr Paul Wilson, said the station generated a maximum of 73Mw in tests yesterday, but would generate just 50Mw until the level of Lake Dunstan was raised again.

A group of 11 technicians, engineers and trades people were working at the powerhouse testing connection of the No 4 generator with the grid yesterday.

The spectacular spray seen from the dewatering sluice during the first stage of lake filling, could only be seen in short bursts as lake water was transferred to generator No 4 in yesterday's tests.

Mr Wilson said there had been no problems with the turbine or generator. A circuit breaker was opened to disconnect the machine from the grid and the machinery would have shut down automatically if a fault occurred, he said.

The water flow through the turbine would be kept at 154 cumecs to generate 50Mw until Lake Dunstan was raised to the second level, 185m, in another three to five months.

The four generators at Clyde will together produce 160Mw initially and that will increase to 430Mw when Lake Dunstan reaches 195m.

The generator was first connected to the national grid in a 20min test on Monday night, but last night would be the first time it would contribute continuously, he said.

The other three generators would start up over the next month, he said.

The team would continue to work at the Clyde power station for "a few days" but eventually the generators would be run by remote-control from the Roxburgh hydro station, Mr Wilson said.

When the station was run entirely by remote-control from Roxburgh, Mr Wilson would stay on as project technical manager at Clyde, Powermark technicians would go to Dunedin and two Design Power engineers were likely to return to Christchurch, he said.

October 22: The Clyde dam was generating at full capacity yesterday for the first time since it came into operation as rivers rose from the steady rain and snow melt in Otago.

While Electricorp welcomed the relief from pressure on the Clutha and Waitaki hydro-electricity schemes, snow to as low as 150 metres in areas of Otago and Southland had people wondering about the fickle seasons.

Labour Day weekend travellers to Central Otago may be able to see water spilling from the Clyde dam for the first time if the Clutha River continues to flow at its present level.

The Roxburgh dam started spilling at midday yesterday and last night the Clyde dam was scheduled to start spilling 50 cumecs with all four generators operating at peak capacity, Electricorp said. The station was producing 350 megawatts of electricity around the clock.


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