The Pukaki project is to be developed at an existing asset, utilising the head between Lake Pukaki and the Pukaki-Ohau canal. A new small powerhouse would be located close to the existing canal inlet structure and will have the capability to generate up to 35MW.

“This is a great example of getting the best out of an existing asset,” said Ken Smales, General Manager of Renewable Development. “We have long identified the canal intake structure at Lake Pukaki as having the potential to increase generation. It’s great to get the consent to develop this project that will maximise the energy we can deliver.”

The consent was considered on a limited notification basis and there were three submissions. The consenting authorities decided there was no need for a hearing.

Meridian has agreed to various mitigation measures through the consultation process with Fish & Game, Mackenzie District Council, the Department of Conservation, and the Benmore Irrigation Company.

Construction associated with the development of the new project will be contained entirely within the land around the gate and canal, already owned by Meridian.

“We are yet to make a decision about when we will build this project, but the option will be executed when market conditions are favourable,” added Smales.