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Budding engineers visit Wairere Power Station

Budding engineers visit Wairere Power Station

A group of budding Hamilton-based trainee engineers have been given a taste of the real world at a recent educational visit to Wairere hydro power station in Aria.

The group, who toured the King Country Energy (KCE) owned power station for the first time this month, consisted of 16 students in their final year of the three-year Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech) degree at Hamilton-based institute of technology, Wintec.

As part of the tour, the KCE Generation team supervised the safety of the group; showed them the turbines, turbine components, and design of the plant; and took the group through the controls.

"Wintec is committed to an industry focus for our students. We were thrilled to have KCE support the partnership between tertiary institutions and industry by hosting the visit to Wairere," Wintec academic staff member Ron Taylor said.

Wairere hydro power station, built in 1924, is one of the oldest of five hydro-generation power stations owned by KCE. A significant upgrade of one of its turbines was completed just last year.

Mr Taylor said Wairere was a particularly interesting power station to tour because of its combination of old and new technology.

"The Wairere G1 turbine was installed in the 1920s and now isn't in working order, whereas the G5 turbine was installed just last year. Comparing the old and new was beneficial for our students," he said.

"There's definitely the possibility of future visits – it's one of the nearest hydro power stations to Hamilton and the students had a great time.

KCE generation operations manager Vladimir Kabanov said the KCE Generation team was "more than happy" to host a site visit, which helped the students meet their course requirements.

"Ron asked us if we would host his students at Wairere power station. Ron has been a consultant engineer at KCE in the past, so knows our company and power stations well," Mr Kabanov said.

"We were more than happy to assist. These are New Zealand's future engineers, and it's great if, during their study, they can get insight into the day-to-day workings of the power industry.

"We hope showing them around a real hydro power station will help them merge theory and practice; and give them a glimpse into possible future work opportunities," he said.

Mr Kabanov said KCE, which also runs a similar power station tours for school students annually, was thrilled to have had great interest and feedback from the group of Wintec students.

"It's a privilege to help forge relationship between institutes and power industry," he said.


Caption: Budding engineers from Hamilton-based Polytech, Wintec, visited Wairere power station this month. L-R: Wintec electrical engineering lecturer Ron Taylor with Wintec students, Richard Alderson, Michael Ler and Peter Law, and KCE generation operations manager Vladimir Kabanov