14 Apr 2011

Tidal power technology in Kaipara not yet finalised

7:43 am on 14 April 2011

The company that is planning to install tidal power generation in Kaipara Harbour says it has yet to decide what type of turbines it will use.

Crest Energy has consent to install up to 200 turbines on the seabed near the harbour entrance in but opponents of the scheme says the giant turbines will pose a risk to marine life, including the snapper fishery and Maui's dolphins.

Crest Energy director Anthony Hopkins says the company has two years of research ahead of it to find the best technology.

He says the resource consent does not specify a particular turbine model, but sets limits on size, sound and impact on marine life and the harbour.

The company has been criticised for not attending three meetings held in the region to express opposition to Crest's plans, but Mr Hopkins says he had been told by Kaipara mayor Neil Tiller that it would not be a good idea for the company to go.

The mayor says he was referring only to a meeting in Dargaville which he organised before the project won government approval.

He says the two other meetings were run by tangata whenua and and as far as he knows they were open to everyone.

Mr Hopkins says Crest has held more than 100 meetings to consult the public about the tidal energy project and is in dialogue with many groups that support it.