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Keep doors open on hydro power says IPENZ

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Keep doors open on hydro power says IPENZ

New Zealand can’t keep closing the door on renewable energy options such as hydro power, said John Gardiner, the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) Deputy Chief Executive.

Mr Gardiner said this in response to the Environment Court's recent decision to reduce the water rights that underpin the Tongariro Hydro Power Scheme, and similar instances where obtaining water allocations and consents are becoming difficult.

“Every time the Resource Management Act makes it difficult for hydro schemes to become established, New Zealanders are left with fewer desirable alternatives for their energy future. If we don’t fill our energy needs from renewable sources we become reliant on non-renewables, particularly carbon based fuels,” he said.

“In the case of the Tongariro Power Scheme the Environment Court’s decision to cut the water rights from 35 years to just 10 years sent a clear message to power companies that it is too difficult to develop hydro generation in New Zealand.

“Although this may favour some interests it is bad for New Zealand as hydro generation has an important role as our energy needs continue to grow,” said Mr Gardiner.

“We in New Zealand are lucky that we have a high proportion of renewable energy through our hydro capacity both existing and potential, and we shouldn’t completely stop exploring those options – although it is unlikely that hydro power will make such a large contribution to our future energy mix.

“Wind energy is often cited as the world's fastest growing energy source – and although wind energy does provide a clean, renewable energy option, it cannot replace all other forms of generation because the wind cannot be relied upon to blow at the right time. hydro…2


“Research suggests there is a synergy between hydro and wind generation, because on a still day when you can’t turn on your lights, you can turn hydro power up to its full capacity almost instantaneously,” he said.


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