Rafting the majestic Mokihinui

Over 100 of us rafted and kayaked down the Mokihinui River on Sunday. The Mok is a fantastic wild West Coast river, a river full of life which makes its way through some of the last of our great lowland forest.

Meridian Energy wants to dam and destroy the Mokihinui and drown the surrounding forest, even though three other consented hydro projects will make the West Coast self-sufficient in power.

This is the site of the proposed dam. I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks it acceptable to put a dam 20 storeys high across this majestic river.

Don’t let them do it: get involved in the campaign, send an e-card, download our petition and tell your friends – www.greens.org.nz/mokihinui

Thanks to Ian Trafford for the incredible photos, to Hugh Canard for your champion effort organising and to everyone else who made this such an awesome trip.

This is what we’re fighting for.

10 Comments Posted

  1. Mike – geothermal is also 24 x 7.

    We don’t need a HVDC backbone to use wind, solar, tidal or wave resources, but it would help. We do need a HVDC backbone or similar to allow us to meet the peak North Island demand from only renewables when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing as South Island hydro is about the only resource capable of being ramped up enough to meet this demand. The wind, wave, tidal and solar resources can then be used to conserve the hydro power for the peaks and for when these other resources are not generating.


  2. If this power scheme goes ahead, it has the potential to generate 350 G watt hrs annually.

    This could be offset by installing solar hot water heaters on 100,000 homes, assuming each device saves the owner 10KW per day.

    The question is how do you convince 100,000 people to each pay $7000 to do this. Assuming each installation lasts 10 years min, then it has payed for itself.

    Hydro and thermal are the only power sources that can be used by industry, being 24×7 operation. Until NZ adapts a high voltage DC backbone super grid, we cannot effectively use the other (wind, solar) generation methods, due to the high losses in our current system.

    Could always move all our industry off shore…

  3. As has been mentioned earlier in another thread, the problem with the West Coast exporting large amounts of electricity is that the transmission lines run almost to Stoke and then back down the West Coast. The West Coast should be largely self-sufficient for power, but it may not be cost-effective for it to be a large exporter. Given that it has wind and wave resources available as well as hydro, we shouldn’t need to exploit the Mokihinui.


  4. I agree with BJ we need to be aiming for all our power generation to be sustainable, but we have to look at the environmental costs also. Especially as Stockton is an alternative to the Mokihinau.

    A lot more could be done now on the electricity demand side also.
    Insulation ratings, passive solar design and solar heating for all new buildings, and subsidies for energy efficiency in older ones, are just some of many things which could be done to cut the need for generation in the short term. Longer term other alternatives can be developed.

  5. The West Coast should be exporting electricity to other regions (and possibly water)
    But whether the Mokihinui should be part of that is pretty hard to justify.
    I do note that fish and game don’t appear to have an objection to it as it won’t affect the sports fishery, but they are not exactly concerned for native wildlife.

  6. Russel

    The goal is to make New Zealand self-sufficient in renewable energy.

    The West Coast is what percentage of New Zealand?

    The West Coast has what percentage of our available renewable power resources?

    …and yes, a hydro dam is a “renewable” power resource. So is wind.

    …and yes, it would be nice to leave it until last… until we absolutely MUST do it, but I am not going to let this thread go without making the point that having surplus available has nothing to do with just the West Coast.

    I know we want to save all our “wild” rivers. I know we can’t afford that without some potent alternatives (like Cook Strait tidal, or massive wind generation projects).

    There… I’ve put in my little objection. Go ahead and wax lyrical about the beauty of the wild places. 🙂


  7. I am aware of the Stockton Plateau hydro proposal. What are the other two consented projects on the West Coast?


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