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Generator looks for investment now it has resource consents

Monday 1st February 2010

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An innovative hydro scheme to generate electricity while dealing with historic mine leachates from the West Coast's Stockton plateau has been granted resource consents which could add between 20MW and 50MW of electricity generation capacity if investment partners can be found.

However, the Hydro Developments project will almost certainly face appeals from Solid Energy, which has its own hydro plan for the area and fears losing control of water resources that are key to its current mining activities.

Solid Energy has yet to file consent applications or detail plans for its alternative hydro scheme, but has already invested heavily in treating leachate issues, mainly stemming from disused mines in the area.

Assuming an investment go-ahead, the $200 million Hydro Developments scheme could be up and running by 2015.

It will flood two storage valleys covering 78 hectares and require tunnels to take Ngakawau River water and generate power at two points before discharging from an offshore seabed outlet. 

Part of the plan's appeal is the potential to create a separate revenue stream from treating polluted Stockton mine water, an activity currently carried out and funded by the Crown and Solid Energy.

Hydro Developments says it is in talks with generators, among others, about involvement in the scheme, which could be structured as a public-private partnership.

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