The Herald reports:
A 20-megawatt hydro scheme on the West Coast has been blocked by Environment Minister David Parker due to its impact on the pristine and outstanding nature of the Morgan Gorge.
The $100 million development, proposed by Greymouth-based Westpower, had the support of the Department of Conservation, which spent more than two years working with the company on its proposal.
In September 2016 the department recommended the granting of a 49-year concession, leases and easements for the development which would draw water from above the Morgan Gorge in the Waitaha River, through a 1.5-kilometre tunnel, into a power station and back into the river downstream.
This just shows that the Government doesn’t believe its own rhetoric on climate change. The PM says this is the most critical issue of our times, and that we must reduce our emissions to zero. But then they turn down a renewable energy project, despite the Department of Conservation recommending it proceed.
Every hydro project changes the environment that was there before a dam was built. But the post dam environment can be equally beautiful as we see often in the South Island.
Westpower believed the run-of-river scheme could deliver about 120 GWh of power annually – enough to meet almost a quarter of the region’s demand. The proposal, along with the 7.6 MW Amethyst hydro plant the company commissioned on DoC land at Hari Hari in 2013, was developed to improve security of supply in southern Westland, particularly in the event of a transmission failure into the region.
Backers included Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae and Te Runanga o Makaawhio. The West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board also had no objection to the scheme.
But the project was the subject of a concerted campaign by the kayaking community and other environmental groups, including Sage’s Green Party. They argued there was no justification for additional power generation on the West Coast and that the Morgan Gorge warranted special protection from development, even though only expert kayakers can use it in its natural state.
So the Green Party thinks it is more important expert kayakers have an place to kayak, than New Zealand moves to renewable energy. God they’re such hypocrites.
They demand that petrol cars be banned and replaced with electric cars, yet they campaign against almost every renewable energy proposal proposed to actually generate the electricity needed in the future.
Westpower chairman Mike Newcombe said the company is “utterly stunned” by the rejection.
“We put up a proposal that ticks all the boxes: renewable, sustainable energy, long-term regional economic development boost, careful environmental stewardship – and yet it was declined. It is an alarming decision not just for the coast but for regional New Zealand,” he said in a statement.
“We will be carefully reviewing the detail of the decision,” he said. “It makes no sense – not least because of the government’s stated intention to be 100 per cent renewable in energy by 2035 – 15 years – and its commitment to climate change.”
This shows it is a slogan for the Government, not something they have any intention of achieving. That would require making actual hard decisions.