23 May 2012

Death knell for large hydro schemes

5:48 pm on 23 May 2012

The termination of a big hydro scheme in Buller is seen in the industry as the death knell for large hydro schemes.

Meridian Energy has axed an 85 megawatt dam proposed for the Mokihinui River north of Westport, because of opposition from the Department of Conservation.

Meridian says any big new hydro project would have problems winning the necessary consents.

Trustpower and Genesis Energy agree.

Contact Energy recently abandoned plans to build dams on the Clutha River.

Environmental groups have helped block a series of hydro schemes in the last 20 years.

Buller Mayor Pat McManus told Morning Report the loss of the hydro scheme is a bitter pill to swallow as West Coast people pay more for wholesale power.