North Bank tunnel

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North Bank tunnel project
Location Waitaki River, New Zealand
Status Proposed
Owner(s) Meridian Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Hydropower
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 200 MW (270,000 hp)

The North Bank tunnel concept was a hydroelectric scheme being developed by Meridian Energy on the Waitaki River in Canterbury, New Zealand. The $993 million project was expected to produce an additional 1,100 to 1,400 gigawatt-hours (4,000 to 5,000 TJ) per annum, and take up to 260 cubic metres per second (9,200 cu ft/s) of water from Lake Waitaki. The project would have resulted in a 275 gigawatt-hours (990 TJ) per annum reduction in output from the Waitaki hydro station.[1]

Discovery of geological faultlines prompted a rethink of the project, including consideration of using a canal instead of a tunnel.[2]

Work on the project was suspended in January 2013 due to a forecast of flat demand for electricity for the next five years.[3]

This project is at a similar location to Project Aqua, a hydroelectric power proposal abandoned by Meridian in 2004.

Resource consent process[edit]

In December 2008, Environment Canterbury granted water use consents for this project.[4] Appeals against this decision were made by Ngai Tahu, Ngai Tahu Fishers People Inc, the Lower Waitaki River Management Society and Black Point farmer Garth Dovey.[5] The appeal hearings were held in the Environment Court during June and July 2009,[6] with water rights being granted in September 2009.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bruce, David (1 July 2009). "Meridian outlines details, link to dam". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "Faultlines spark redesign in Waitaki power project". New Zealand Herald. 16 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Webby, Jacquie (20 January 2013). "Meridian suspends land negotiations". Oamaru Mail. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Bruce, David (24 December 2008). "Meridian gains approval for tunnel power scheme". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  5. ^ Bruce, David (31 January 2009). "Four appeals received against tunnel scheme". Otago Daily Times. 
  6. ^ Bruce, David (14 March 2009). "Appeals may take 5 weeks". Otago Daily Times. 
  7. ^ Cogle, Fleur (26 September 2009). "Meridian wins water rights for hydro project". Timaru Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 

External links[edit]