Key Points:

Genesis Energy has been granted 13 resource consents to cover the building and operation of a proposed gas-fired power station in Rodney.

Genesis chief executive Albert Bramley said the consents from the Auckland Regional Council put the company on the "first step towards meeting the growing energy needs of the upper North Island".

Rodney District Council has until late February to announce its decision on whether Genesis can use a 48ha site at Kaukapakapa. The company needs a special zone for the rural site next to Inland Rd and State Highway 16, for building a nominal 240mW station, with development to a nominal 480mW. Such a station could take 25 months to build and five months to commission.Mr Bramley said the long - at 15 years - term before the construction consents expired, would let the company preserve a long-term option for developing a new high-efficiency gas fired generator north of Auckland, close to an area of high-demand growth.

Mr Bramley said any decision to build the plant would not be made until the board had decided a power plant was justified on economic and commercial grounds.

Energy experts said the station's value was capability to contribute 1890 GWh of supply to future needs and contribute to seasonal and short-term security of supply, particularly in the north Auckland isthmus area.

Consents relating to station operation are for 35 years. The bid for consents was heard in October and drew 188 submissions.

ARC hearings commissioners said they considered adverse effects would be minor and meet aims of regional standards. The station would discharge gases through 44m-high exhaust stacks including oxides of nitrogen, unburned hydrocarbons particulate, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Kaukapakapa School and the village play centre - 2km away from site - opposed the project out of concern they were downwind of gas discharges. An air-quality expert witness was confident of no adverse health effects for people living in the area.

Commissioners considered it necessary to strengthen the review conditions of the air-discharge permit and imposed continuous monitoring. Genesis must set up a community liaison group to consult residents.

It now has consent to draw and discharge water from the tidal Kaukapakapa River but it is investigating using wastewater from either a new or upgraded sewage treatment plant for Helensville, 10km away.