30 Dec 2010

West Coast hydro-electricity scheme clears final hurdle

11:05 am on 30 December 2010

A hydro-electricity scheme on a West Coast's Arnold River has cleared its final legal hurdle.

The Environment Court has confirmed changes to the resource consents, allowing the $200 million project to be built in 18 months' time.

The Trustpower project aims to generate 46 megawatts of power, the equivalent of 27,000 homes and make the West Coast self-sufficient for electricity.

Trustpower says it is delighted there are no more obstacles, and plans to start construction in 18 months, creating about 200 jobs.

Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn says after the Pike River Coal mine disaster, in which 29 men died, the project is a much-needed confidence boost for the region.

Environmental and recreational groups say the Arnold River project shows other hydro projects on West Coast rivers such as the Mokihinui are not needed.