Media release

Media release: Consents review of Contact Energy’s Clyde Hydro scheme completed

Friday 2 June 2023

The resource consent conditions around Contact Energy’s obligations covering public amenities work along its hydro schemes on the Clutha River/ Mata Au in Central Otago have been released by the Otago Regional Council.

The recent consents review and subsequent new conditions provide a revised focus on Contact Energy managing public amenity values along the Kawarau Arm of Lake Dunstan - within its consents held around its Clyde Hydro scheme.

The narrow scope review of the consent conditions was focused on Contact Energy’s Landscape and Visual Amenity Management Plan (LVAMP), within the wider consent conditions.

ORC’s Acting Manager Consents Alexandra King says the consents review process, between numerous parties, was “constructive and timely” and the new conditions provide “certainty” for the public.

The resource consents reviewed were (RM2001.385.V3), the water permit for the Clyde dam and (RM2001.386V4) water permit for the Roxburgh dam and (RM2001.398.V2), the land use consent (RM2001.398.V2), to disturb Lake Roxburgh’s bed by moving or removing deposited sediment, and the same for the bed of the lower Manuherikia River; both for the purpose of flood mitigation.

To summarise the situation, Ms King says the previous LVAMP consent conditions specific to the LVAMP were “not certain enough” and there was a “lack of clear direction around monitoring”.

The review sought the following outcomes: that the consent conditions were direct, certainand legally enforceable and that any adverse effects which were not being effectively avoided,
remedied or mitigated by the conditions, would be addressed.

It was “key” that adequate monitoring and reporting was undertaken by Contact Energy, relating to the LVAMP, Ms King says.

Conditions include Contact Energy identifying actions to address landscape and visual amenity effects arising from its activities including, driftwood removal, terrestrial weed removal, planting and activities involving sediment excavation. (Amenities do not include public toilets).

LVAMP’s in the future must include summaries of existing landscape attributes, river processes/geomorphology and changes and actions taken to maintain the landscape and visual amenities.


Stakeholder input during the past year

“The review was a narrow scope review of the conditions relating to the LVAMP. The new conditions are what Contact Energy will need to comply with,” Ms King says. (Link to new conditions is below)

“As with any review, the applicant was able to propose new conditions as part of the process, which Contact Energy did,” she says. The review was processed in line with the steps of the Resource Management Act for
the processing of a consent application.

Ms King says separately, Contact Energy has lodged a resource consent application on 8 May for the dredging of sediment around the Bannockburn Inlet. It is yet to be determined if the application will be publicly notified or not.


Initiation of the review

The review of Contact Energy’s consent conditions for the LVAMP was initiated in August 2022.

Ms King says the consents have been issued with new conditions on them, which are clear about the requirements of the LVAMP.


Specifics of the “notice to review”

Contact Energy has a suite of 17 resource consents granted by ORC for its three hydro-electricity generation facilities; being the Roxburgh and Clyde dams on the Clutha River/Mata Au and the Hawea control structure
at the outlet of Lake Hawea.

Both the Clyde Dam and Roxburgh Dam consents were reviewed, while no need was found to review the Lake Hāwea consents.

The review looked into the potential adverse effects of the following issues:

  • Visual amenity aspects of driftwood
  • Lagrosiphon and the role of Contact Energy in monitoring and management
  • Management of algae, sediments and weeds during lower flows
  • Access to jetties and boat ramps
  • Lower Manuherekia gravel extraction

Additionally, it considered the following process issues for the development and approval of the LVAMP.

  • The addition of performance criteria or standards within the plan
  • Clearer direction on consultation during development
  • Clarity on what matters the plan should address


Background to reviews

Every five years the ORC has a three-month period in which to notify Contact Energy of its intent to review consent conditions. This process is set out in Section 128 of the Resource Management Act and there are also conditions included within the resource consents.

ORC is continuing to monitor compliance with the ORC consents and taking appropriate action.

Contact Energy LVAMP consent conditions