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Current as of 22/09/14 05:20PM NZST

Green light for another Waitaki power station

Lake Pukaki
Photo / Simon Baker
Lake Pukaki Photo / Simon Baker

State-owned power generator Meridian Energy has been given approval to build another small power station in its Waitaki hydro scheme in South Canterbury.

The 35-megawatt Pukaki hydro station, to be built on the Pukaki-Ohau canal at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, should provide enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

It will be built on land around the canal gate and canal, already owned by Meridian, generating electricity from water leaving Lake Pukaki.

The resource consent, issued by Environment Canterbury and Mackenzie District Council last week, attracted three submissions and no hearing was held.

Meridian's water infrastructure development manager Nick Eldred could not give details on the likely cost of construction, but planning documents estimate the costs for building the new lines and substation alone will be more than $3.9 million, the Timaru Herald reported.

Mr Eldred said the project would take up to 28 months to complete, but a start date had not been set.

Meridian estimates it will employ between 80 and 150 workers to build the station.

The Waitaki hydro scheme currently has eight power stations. The new station will be bigger than the smallest station, Tekapo A, which generates 25MW. The largest, Benmore, generates 540MW.

- NZPA

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