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Alliance Showcases Kiwi Talent

Media Release
For immediate distribution: Friday, 30 January 2004

Alliance Showcases Kiwi Talent

The Project Aqua alliance is proving that New Zealand’s technical expertise is up there with the best in the world.

Project Aqua is a proposed canal-based hydro-electric scheme in the Waitaki Valley near Oamaru. It would generate enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average rainfall year and 250,000 households in a very dry year such as occurred in 1992 (a 1 in 20 year event).

Project Aqua must be commercially viable and environmentally sustainable to proceed. It must cost less than other forms of generation (between 4.5c and 5c per kilowatt-hour). A major potential benefit of Project Aqua is that it could enable irrigation in the Waitaki district.

The Project Aqua alliance consists of a design partner, a construction partner and the project owner, Meridian Energy. The design team consists of Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner, PB Power (NZ) and UK-based Black & Veatch. The construction partners are McConnell Dowell and Bechtel.

“The alliance structure means all three parties are working collaboratively right from the start. If one party gains, then all gain: if one party loses, then all lose. The alliance structure allows participants to embrace the risks involved and manage them within a flexible and transparent project delivery environment,” says Meridian Energy spokesperson Alan Seay.

Of the approximately 90 people working within the alliance, more than 70% are New Zealanders. Some of these have moved to Christchurch from other parts of the country, however, a few have also returned from overseas to work on the project.

“The design and possible construction of Project Aqua requires a high level of skills. We have searched far and wide for the best expertise and minds and were delighted to find that so many of them were Kiwis,” says Alan Seay.

The other members of the alliance team are from the UK, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia.

The first task of the alliance is to determine a Target Out-Turn Cost (TOC) for Project Aqua. This will be based on the huge collective experience of all alliance members.

“We will need to continue to find game-breaking solutions to ensure the project is commercially viable and to avoid, remedy or mitigate the environmental, social and cultural impacts. Meridian Energy is pleased the project has some of New Zealand’s brightest minds on board to help overcome such challenges,” says Alan Seay.

ENDS

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