New Plymouth Power Station

New Plymouth Power Station

Power Station
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New Plymouth Power Station

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Description:
The New Plymouth Power Station (NPPS) was a 600 MW thermal power station at New Plymouth. Located at Port Taranaki, it was dual fuelled on natural gas and fuel oil.

History

The power station project commenced in the 1960s, to meet rising electricity demand in New Zealand. Initially, fuel for this power station was to be coal, barged up from the West Coast, and the Port Taranaki site was chosen ahead of one at Wanganui. During early stages of the project, the Maui gas field was discovered off Taranaki. The plant design was changed to be dual fuel on either natural gas or heavy fuel oil.

The first unit was commissioned in February 1974, with the fifth unit coming on line in 1976. For the first few years, the plant ran on raw Kapuni gas, converting to Maui gas in 1979.

The fuel oil capability was decommissioned in 1991, and reinstated in 2003.

Plant operation generally decreased from 1999, after the more efficient Otahuhu combined cycle power station was commissioned. However, the New Zealand power system derives over 60% of its electricity supply from hydro power stations and depends heavily on rainfall. NPPS has often played a vital role in dry years (such as 2001 and 2003), when hydro lake inflows were insufficient to meet demand.

Discovery of asbestos, not in an asbestos register, in thermal insulation during 2007 led to the decision by Contact Energy to close the power station.

In May 2008, one 100 MW unit (unit 3) was temporarily recommissioned. This was in response...
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