Wairakei Geothermal Power Station Visitor Center, Taupo

3.5
#4 of 7 in Sightseeing in Taupo
Tourist Spot Educational Site
The Wairakei Power Station is a geothermal power station near the Wairakei Geothermal Field in New Zealand. Wairakei lies in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.HistoryThe power station was built in 1958, the first of its type in the world, and it is currently owned and operated by Contact Energy. A binary cycle power plant was constructed in 2005 to use lower-temperature steam that had already gone through the main plant. This increased the total capacity of the power station to 181MW. The Wairakei power station is due to be phased out from 2013, replaced by the Te Mihi geothermal power station. The Poihipi Power Station was built in 1996 at a nearby site in the same field.UnitsWairakei A station Unit 1 – 11.2 MW intermediate pressure Unit 4 – 11.2 MW intermediate pressure Unit 7 – 11.2 MW low pressure Unit 8 – 11.2 MW low pressure Unit 9 – 11.2 MW low pressure Unit 10 – 11.2 MW low pressure Units 2, 3, 5 and 6 were decommissioned in 1984.Wairakei B station Unit 11 – 30 MW intermediate/low pressureUnit 12 – 30 MW intermediate/low pressureUnit 13 – 30 MW intermediate/low pressure Wairakei Unit 14 – 4 MW intermediate/low pressureWairakei Binary Plant – 14 MW binaryEffectsThe use of steam from the field has had a number of visible effects on the local environment. Visible geothermal activity has increased (due to changes in the water table / water pressure allowing more steam to be created underground, upsurging at places like Craters of the Moon), while there has also been some land subsidence and reduction in steam volumes from the field after some decades of use. Recent total electrical production has been sustained or increased with the investment in additional power stations such as the binary plant of 2005 designed for lower-temperature generation, but the total still does not reach the early power levels such as the 192MW reported in 1965 (NZED Annual Statistics), for instance. Some power stations in the field are now capped in their extraction capacities and a substantial part of the water / steam is being reinjected after use.
A visit to Wairakei Geothermal Power Station Visitor Center represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Taupo travel itinerary planner to plot your vacation.
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Where to stay in Taupo

As a resort town, Taupo offers a diversity of accommodations. Boutique, luxury, and spa hotels are easily found in the town center, while some of the more luxurious options are set farther out in secluded spots reachable by car or taxi. Backpacker hostels and rental apartments provide good options for those wanting to get up into the mountains, or out onto the lake to enjoy the activities.
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  • You can see a lot of it, simple driving to Huka Falls from Lake Taupo. It is just a bunch of pipes and steam.  more »
  • Miles and miles (Km and Km) of pipe transporting steam for turning turbines!!! If you follow the road to the top you are afforded a great view of the workings below. I took some pictures!!!  more »
  • But this time our hosts drove us up the valley to the lookout point. Very impressive, a bit scary thinking we are standing on all the thermal activity  more »