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GLOBAL RENEWABLES ONLINE - JULY/AUGUST 2012
but Hopkins says that the company
still needs to contend with boating
groups. “We have had conflicts with
other groups who claim that they
use the area for fishing. But with the
strength of these waters, it’s just not
possible that fishing or pleasure boat-
ing is common. I can’t imagine going
out there in a smaller boat. Some of
these groups are simply political,”
Hopkins laments.
Another issue that has cropped
up is with regards to the Maori dol-
phin, which is rumoured to be in
danger should the harbour be devel-
oped into a tidal energy project. “We
have never disputed whether these
dolphins are in the harbour or not,
however, we need to see the facts as
it is quite possible they would not be
affected,” he adds.
Hopkins goes on to say that the
project has become a rallying cause
for many groups in it for the wrong
reasons, and this is “sad, because
many people have not realized the in-
herent benefits of a project like this.”
One of the most prominent ben-
efits: the projects proximity to popu-
lation. “In lots of cases for renewable
projects, it’s a long way to travel
before the power generated can be
used—but not in the area we’ve cho-
sen to develop,” Hopkins assures.
CONTINUING FORWARD TO
COMMENCEMENT
Until the process of gaining social
license is complete, the Crest team are
exploring technology for tidal turbines.
Hopkins says that his team hasn’t yet
seen a technology that they can buy
into. “You can’t explore or develop un-
til you’ve sorted out your technology.
We’re developers we’re not technolo-
gists. So at the moment we’re just sort
of waiting until there are the best tech-
nologies available.”
Currently, the company is work-
ing to start a baseline monitoring pro-
cess, and the company estimates that
once the monitoring has begun, con-
struction will commence exactly two
years from then. The cost of the project
is approximately $600 million.
Hopkins and his team remain
committed to the possibilities of build-
ing the Kaipara tidal project, despite
ongoing hurdles. It has taken a certain
vision to see the light at the end of the
tunnel, but, Hopkins notes that the
benefits outweigh the risks and ob-
stacles. “Put simply, tidal just fits the
renewable energy mix in this country
very well—the environment is right
for it.” While it is clear that the process
can be delayed repeatedly, the Kaipara
harbour tidal project will undoubtedly
exist in the future as a remarkable ex-
ample of the power of renewable en-
ergy.
“In lots of cases for renew-
able projects, it’s a long way
to travel before the power
generated can be used—but
not in the area we’ve cho-
sen to develop.”