Hydro power scheme approved on West Coast

DOC has approved a small scale “run of river” hydro power scheme on public conservation land near Whataroa in South Westland. The power plant will generate 1.89 MW.

DOC’s West Coast Operations Director Mark Davies who made the decision, says the scheme can be constructed with minimal long term effects on the environment.

The scheme is a “run of river” hydro scheme, which means there will be no dam constructed. Water will be collected via a weir and diverted into a penstock/pipeline which would take the water down to a powerhouse. The water will be returned to the river downstream of the powerhouse in its entirety.

As part of the decision-making process, DOC is imposing robust conditions during the construction of the scheme to ensure that any effects on vegetation or wildlife are minimised.