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Meridian Energy with the agreement of the Guardians of Lakes Manapōuri, Monowai and Te Anau has put a proposed amendment to the Lake Operating Guidelines on hold.

Meridian has been talking to the Guardians about the possibility of adjusting the drawdown provisions of the Guidelines for the hydro lakes. The proposal would amend the lakes operating range to enable generation of renewable energy, by accessing the lower operating range for the lakes for short periods.

“Considerable work on the proposal has been undertaken over the past three years, including extensive and thorough independent scientific studies, which concluded there would be no significant negative environmental effects associated with the proposed changes”, says Andrew Feierabend of Meridian Energy.

“We do recognise there’s more work to be done before a decision can be reached, so we have decided to pause for now and will, in the first instance, re-prioritise our effort on the Southland Land and Water Plan. Deferral of the proposal to focus on the planning process is also consistent with advice received from Environment Southland.”

Darryl Sycamore, Chair of the Guardians, says “The Guardians priority is for upholding the environmental, social and cultural values of the Lakes and the Waiau River, while balancing the optimisation of power generation. It’s imperative that we carefully consider the science that underpins Meridian’s proposal before we make recommendations to the Minister.  We consider some aspects of the science in terms of shoreline ecology requires more analysis before we can evaluate the proposal.  The Guardians recognise Meridian wish to focus on the aspects of the Southland Land and Water Plan that affect their business at this time.”

ENDS

Anna Vrede, Communications Specialist, 021 195 3175

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