Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kaipara under threat

The Kaipara harbour could be completely stuffed by this.

"Crest Energy Kaipara hopes to install 200 underwater turbines in Kaipara Harbour, Northland, and wants exclusive occupancy of the entrance to the 94,700hectare harbour.

Crest has been granted resource consent by Northland Regional Council for the scheme which is predicted to eventually produce up to 3 per cent of the country's electricity supply.

However, the approval prompted appeals to the Environment Court, which completed lengthy hearings in Whangarei last week and is yet to rule.

Research by Niwa scientists in March revealed that 98 per cent of snapper from Ninety Mile Beach to Mana Island, near Wellington, spawn in the Kaipara.

Crest told the court that the five- storey-high turbines would have no environmental impact. Although Crest's plans, on a map, block only part of the mouth, it wants the only navigable channel and exclusive use for 35 years.

A Crest environmental consultant, Luke Gowing, said in evidence that the "effects of the proposed installation and operation of the cables and marine turbines will have no more than minor effect on the biological resources and fishing activity within the Kaipara Harbour"."

So just a little recap. 98% of snapper on the westcoast of te Ika a Maui are spawned in the Kaipara. 98%

The Five-story high turbines would have no environmental effect says Crest. They want exclusive occupancy for the entrance of the harbour.

Northern Regional Council has granted resource consent. Environment Court yet to rule.


Arnold Wilson said...

Marty - you missed a few facts - before anything happens there'll be 2-3 years monitoring - then if all ok in go the first 20 - occupy 0.05% of harbour entrance away from fishing and navigation channels - turbines in 31 metres (100 feet) of water - then more monitoring and review before next stage - and so on. Developer set up $8m trust with opportunity for iwi control if they want it.

Marty Mars said...

Thanks Arnold, appreciate the clarification. It still seems a little difficult to reconcile five-story high turbines with no environmental impact. But a good one to keep an eye on.