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Project Aqua – part of NZ's electricity answer

Media Release
For immediate release: 18 November 2003

Project Aqua – part of New Zealand’s electricity answer

Project Aqua is a big part of the answer to the electricity generation issues facing New Zealand, says state-owned power generator and retailer Meridian Energy.

“We have never said Project Aqua would solve all of New Zealand’s electricity generation woes. What we have said is that it is part of the solution – a solution which also involves the development of wind power and various energy efficiency and conservation measures,” says Meridian spokesman Alan Seay.

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electric scheme that would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley. It would generate enough low-cost, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average year, and about 250,000 households in a very dry year. A very dry year is a 1-in-20 year event.

“For our dynamic and growing economy to continue its upward path we need to be able to meet the growing demand for energy that’s coming from right around the country. We need to adopt a range of measures – and Project Aqua has to be one of them. There are no other publicised large-scale generation proposals that would be able to deliver the necessary capacity by the end of the decade.”

Meridian Energy’s Te Apiti wind farm, which will be operational by the spring of 2004, will generate enough electricity for the equivalent of 32,300 homes.

“We are committed to all forms of renewable electricity and construction has this week begun on the Te Apiti wind farm. But the 55 wind turbines at Te Apiti will produce as much power as one of the six Project Aqua power stations. It complements our hydro generation.”

Alan Seay is urging New Zealanders to consider what alternative electricity generation options are available, if we turn Project Aqua away.

“We’re running out of natural gas, if we import liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will jump and do we really want to rely on coal-fired power stations or to have to consider a nuclear option?

“To repeat the question posed by the Hon. Dr Michael Cullen in Oamaru earlier this year: ‘If not Project Aqua, then what?’”

ENDS

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