N.Z. utility to begin design work on 17-MW Hawea Gates

Utility Contact Energy says it is ready to begin design work for the 17-MW Hawea Gates hydroelectric project due to final resolution of resource consents for the project on the Hawea River in Central Otago Region.

Although the Otago Regional Council granted resource consents for the project earlier this year, Contact appealed two points in the drafting of two conditions. (HNN 6/28/07)

One was clarifying timing on an aspect of the construction process, while the other related to volumes of water to be delivered to Hawea Irrigation Co. Both were resolved by agreement with interested parties without need for further hearings, Contact said.

Contact Chief Executive David Baldwin said the company now would begin the planning and design phase of the project. He said design work would be undertaken in 2008, with the project expected to be complete by 2012.

Although the project originally was proposed in April 2004, Contact was required to withdraw and modify the proposal to negate the need for controversial dredging of the Hawea River. Hawea Gates involves construction of a small hydro plant at the company’s control gates of Lake Hawea.

�We have taken on board the views of the community and redesigned the scheme to reduce its environmental impact,� Baldwin said.

Baldwin has said the project would make a “small but significant” contribution to renewable generation in the Otago Lakes region, where demand has increased more than 75 percent in the last 10 years.

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