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Progress On Mitigation For Kurow Businesses

Media Release
For immediate distribution: 18 February 2004

Progress On Mitigation For Kurow Businesses

Meridian Energy is making progress with its mitigation offers for Kurow businesses that may be affected by the proposed Project Aqua hydro-electric scheme.

“We have been negotiating on a case-by-case basis with businesses that may be affected if Project Aqua goes ahead,” says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay. “Although that is time consuming, we are committed to getting mitigation right for every potential directly affected party.”

Some businesses are ready to consider mitigation agreements. Others are not ready yet because they want more information about effects or would like to see a town plan for Kurow developed first. The Waitaki District Council intends to develop a town plan in consultation with the community.

The agreements set out the understanding between Meridian Energy and business-owners about how the effects of Project Aqua would be addressed.

Meridian Energy plans to start presenting agreements for consideration this month.

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.

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.

ENDS

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