Project Aqua Would Secure Sth Island Supply
Project Aqua would help secure the South Island’s electricity supply in dry years
Project Aqua would mean more electricity is available to the South Island all the time – even during dry years.
In an extremely dry year (such as 1992 – the driest year on record), Project Aqua would still generate enough electricity to power 250,000 homes.
Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electric scheme that would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley. It would include a 60-kilometre canal with six hydro power stations, two outfalls and new high-voltage transmission lines.
In a normal year, Project Aqua would generate 3000 GWh – that is enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households.
In a very dry year Project Aqua would still generate about 2000 GWh.
The security of supply in the South Island is forecast to fall below an acceptable level by the end of the decade due to growth in demand.
“It is vital for New Zealand that we ensure maximum reliability and efficiency from our existing stations,” says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay.
Project Aqua will re-use water which is already used by the eight power stations on the upper Waitaki River.
“Project Aqua will allow us to get more power out of our existing water resource, by adding 30% to the current generation potential of the Waitaki River,” says Alan Seay, Meridian Energy spokesman.
There are no other publicised large-scale generation proposals in the South Island that would be able to deliver the capacity necessary to secure supply by the end of the decade.
“It is very difficult to bring new investments to a country which is short of electricity. Project Aqua would help maintain New Zealand’s reputation for having a secure and reliable electricity supply even during dry spells,” says Alan Seay.