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DOC and Transpower sign landmark agreement

3 November, 2004

DOC and Transpower sign landmark agreement on electricity infrastructure development

An agreement to allow environmentally-responsible electricity infrastructure development on public conservation land has been reached between the Department of Conservation and national electricity grid operator Transpower.

DOC director-general Hugh Logan and Transpower chief executive Ralph Craven were due to sign a national memorandum of understanding between both organisations, at Transpower’s offices in Wellington today.

“What we have done is a breakthrough for energy development and conservation in New Zealand,” Mr Logan said today. “We have negotiated an agreement that spells out our activities and obligations to each other over the next decade.”

“There is huge public interest in the future of the energy sector in New Zealand, and what this agreement does is to ensure protection of conservation values on DOC-managed land, while allowing Transpower to get on with their job.”

Transpower is planning to spend around $1.5 billion on upgrading its network.

Transpower Chief Executive Dr Ralph Craven said this would include the construction of major new transmission lines.

“The existing grid meets New Zealand’s present needs, but looking to the future significant investment is needed to ensure a secure electricity supply. A significant portion of the national grid runs across public conservation land. Transpower is committed to working with DOC to ensure that transmission line upgrades and the construction of new lines are undertaken in a way which seeks to minimise the environmental impact.”

The agreement’s coverage includes: A code of practice for Transpower workers accessing and operating on public conservation land to ensure protection of conservation values. Agreement on a consent application process under the Conservation and Resource Management Acts for line upgrades and construction of new lines, e.g., a new 400 kV line from Whakamaru to Otahuhu. Native tree trimming agreement. Easement concession for Transpower to secure tenure over existing and new lines.

DOC has worked previously with the energy sector, including wind farms, hydro (15 projects underway on DOC-managed land), and with Transpower, for example, the Manapouri transmission line agreement in Fiordland National Park.

The DOC-Transpower MOU could form a template for other agreements with energy companies wanting to operate on public conservation land, Mr Logan said.

ENDS


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