THE WAIRAU HYDRO SCHEME, proposed by Trust Power of New Zealand, is expected to significantly increase power generation in the South Island’s Wairau Valley.

The utility said it is proposing the construction of three new power stations in the Wairau Valley that could generate around 580GWh of additional power for the region. Current local generation of power is around 265GWh, compared with the annual regional demand of 1030GWh.

Trust Power has proposed that part of the Wairau river flow be diverted into the existing Branch Scheme and the water be diverted to three generation stations using hydro canals.

Considering the time required for engineering, environmental impact studies, resource consent applications and construction, Trust Power says the scheme could be up and running by the end of 2006.