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Consents For Additional Generation At Hawea Gates

Media Release

20th August 2004

Contact Energy Seeks Consents For Additional Generation At Hawea Gates

Contact Energy has applied for the resource consents to add to its electricity output from the Clutha River hydro scheme by adding a small hydro power station at the company’s existing control gates at Lake Hawea – the storage lake for the Clutha scheme.

The proposed Hawea Gates development could provide up to 70 gigawatt hours of additional electricity per annum – enough to run nearly 9,000 homes - and could be commissioned as early as winter 2006.

Contact Energy chief executive Steve Barrett said that the development will harness energy from water that currently passes through the existing control gate structures at Lake Hawea.

“The proposed scheme represents a more efficient use of the water flow from Lake Hawea. Two hydropower turbines with a total capacity of 12 to 16 MW will be driven from the existing water flow from the Hawea Dam into the Hawea River. The fall of 20 metres is currently unused for electricity generation.

“The addition of hydro generation at Hawea is one example of the many smaller additions to New Zealand’s electricity generating capacity which, when added together, can contribute significantly to meeting the energy gap that still looms towards the end of this decade.

“This is typical of New Zealand’s emerging energy future – using a mixture of renewable and thermal fuels, some of which will be making more efficient use of available resources and others which will be adding major new capacity. The answer is no longer to be found in just a few major new energy sources or schemes.”

Contact is also part-way through a major efficiency upgrade at its Wairakei geothermal plant, with the new 14.4MW binary plant making additional use of heat that has already been extracted to produce electricity.

“The Hawea Gates development will also enhance electricity supply security for the Otago Lakes Region,” said Mr Barrett. “Growth in peak electricity demand in the region has risen by almost 50 percent in past four years.

“Hydro generation is a renewable natural resource and a vital element in the supply mix that balances cost, reliability, sustainability and environmental impacts,” he said.

Contact lodged its consent application with the Otago Regional Council and the Queenstown Lakes District Council on August 10.

Ends

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