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Project Aqua Would Create Jobs

Project Aqua Would Create Jobs

Major economic benefits for the Canterbury and Otago regions would result from Project Aqua, a new report has shown.

The report formed part of Meridian Energy’s response to requests for further information from the consenting authorities as part of Project Aqua’s consent process.

“Not only would the construction workforce peak at 700, but job numbers would be greater than current levels once the construction is complete,” said Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay. “We’re pleased to see that the project would not only benefit the country as a whole by providing much needed power, but would also benefit these regions specifically.”

The report showed that 81 permanent new jobs in generation and maintenance would be created in Canterbury and Otago, 36 from within the Timaru/Waimate/Waitaki districts. “It’s good to see that a good proportion of these jobs will remain in these districts, rather than all being swallowed up by the major centres,” said Mr Seay.

The report also showed that generation and maintenance of the scheme would create an additional $2.6 million in household income annually.

“This is also good news for those within the Timaru/Waimate/Waitaki districts, where $1.2 million of this money will be earned,” said Mr Seay.

Those from within the region, along with the rest of New Zealand would also benefit from the wholesale electricity prices being between 5% and 10% lower than they may be if Project Aqua does not proceed. “The net overall benefits to New Zealanders if the project proceeds are estimated as equivalent to around 0.5% of the total Gross Domestic Product of the New Zealand economy. On a per household basis, that’s about $500,” said Mr Seay.

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electricity scheme with a 60-kilometre canal, six hydro power stations, two outfalls and new high-voltage transmission lines. It would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley, from an intake at Kurow to an outfall 6 km from the coast. It would generate about 3000 GWh in an average year and 2000 GWh in a very dry year.

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