Benefits of the Scheme

 
The proposed Matiri electricity generation scheme will generate electricity to power 3000 homes without emitting any pollutants. Generating the same quantity of electricity using natural gas would emit 13,250 tonnes of C02 per year and using coal would emit 23,250 tonnes of C02 per year.

Despite conservation initiatives electricity demand in New Zealand is growing at an alarming rate with Electricity Commission forecasts of 2.7% growth per year in the short to medium term. Providing new generation for this growth is important to New Zealanders and vital for the national economy.

In 1999 the New Zealand Government delivered significant electricity industry reforms with a clear message to the nation and the industry that new generation is to be built and operated under a commercial model. the importance to the nation of small scale distributed generation is spelled out in the Government policy statement on electricity governance:

"Distributed generation is generation which is connected to local distribution lines rather than the transmission grid. It is expected to play an increasingly important role in meeting electricity demand as the cost of smaller-scale and new renewable technologies continues to decline. Distributed generation can improve security of supply by creating diversity of fuel types, locations and technologies, and, where appropriately sited, helps reduce the need for transmission and distribution upgrades. Accordingly, it is important that there are no unnecessary barriers to its development."

Transpower have identified a likely shortage of transmission capacity to the upper South Island by 2012 and are seeking to defer or minimise transmission line upgrades by meeting the increasing demand with a combination of new generation, new transmission and more efficient use of electricity. The proposed Matiri scheme would contribute to this goal, particularly if it is managed to provide maximum generation during periods of peak electricity use.

The challenge for New Zealand is to reduce electricity consumption as much as possible by conservation measures and then to meet future demand growth with the least impact on our environment.

Small scale hydro schemes like the proposed Matiri development are an excellent way to achieve this when constructed in sympathy with the environment as they use a self renewing energy source, produce zero emissions to the atmosphere and zero pollutants to the aquatic environment.

The proposed Matiri development would be a significant asset to the local community as it would be capable of providing electricity to the larger Murchison area in the event of a major national grid failure such as occurred for a short period on 14 September 2006.

The proposed development will also enhance public access to a unique part of the Kahurangi National Park.