New Zealand power developer TrustPower has secured a 35-year resource consent from the Environment Court to operate the 80MW Matahina Hydropower Scheme, located on the Rangitaiki River in the Bay of Plenty.
In granting the consent, the court imposed several conditions for TrustPower that include increasing monitoring activities and five-yearly reviews, besides an increase in financial contribution towards the river scheme and a one-off financial contribution to recover costs for the 2010-2011 floods.
The court has granted ramping rates (how fast downstream river levels are allowed to rise and fall), and multiple peaking (changes in downstream flow), but has rejected the company’s proposed low flow in the Rangitaiki.
TrustPower is required to work with the regional council’s Natural Hazards Group to pre-lower the dam further in advance of a significant flood that would increase floodwater storage in the dam, and reduce the flood peak downstream.
Regional Council general manager environmental management Eddie Grogan said that the resource consent conditions would address challenges related to impact on the environment, the Rangitaiki River Scheme, and flood protection.