|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.