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New Hawea hydro plan to increase renewable energy

New Hawea hydro plan to increase clean, renewable energy

Contact Energy today confirmed it has lodged a new, modified resource consent application for a small hydro scheme at the company’s control gates at Lake Hawea in Central Otago.

In August 2004, Contact lodged a consent application to construct a small generation plant at the point where water from Lake Hawea flows into the Hawea River.

Following some community concern around the requirement to deepen the river where the water would be discharged from the new hydro power station, Contact has come up with a new proposal that no longer requires deepening of the river channel.

“Contact has withdrawn its previous application and today lodged a new consent application for a modified scheme which addresses the substantive concerns raised during the initial application,” said Contact Chief Executive, David Baldwin.

“We have taken the views expressed during the initial consultation on board, and come up with a better design which removes the need to deepen a stretch of river, and which will allow more electricity to be generated.”

Mr Baldwin said the project would generate up to 17 megawatts of electricity, which would contribute towards an increase in security of electricity supply.

Electricity demand in the Otago Lakes region has increased by over 75 per cent in the last 10 years - more than four times faster than the national average. Through harnessing an existing resource which is currently untapped, the Hawea Gates hydro scheme will help meet strong national and regional electricity demand with minimal environmental impact.

“The scheme will make a small but significant contribution to New Zealand’s total level of clean, renewable electricity generation,” said Mr Baldwin.

Mr Baldwin said Contact had already begun consulting the community around the new plan and was hopeful for strong community support for the updated project.


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