New Zealand energy generator Contact Energy has said it will not proceed with current plans for hydro development on the Clutha River.

After three years of thorough research and community engagement, the utility has decided not to proceed with any of the hydro options being investigated at this time, based on an assessment of the relative economics of each option, as well as a range of technical, environmental, social and cultural factors.

The four options under consideration were: Queensberry; Luggate; Tuapeka Mouth; and Beaumont. Contact Chief Executive Dennis Barnes said today that the company’s investigations over the last three years have shown that none of the options are viable in the foreseeable future.

“It has become clear that all future Clutha hydro options came in at a much higher cost per megawatt to build than the next available new geothermal and wind generation options. On current demand forecasts, the Clutha options are not economic in the foreseeable future,” he said.

“Contact has a range of new generation in the pipeline, either confirmed, consented or under construction, to meet foreseeable electricity demand for our customers.”

As part of its ongoing land management strategy, Contact will be reviewing its land holdings in the vicinity of the Clutha.