New Zealand's Contact Energy has lodged a new, modified resource consent application for a small hydro scheme at the company's control gates at lake Hawea in central Otago.

In August 2004, Contact submitted a consent application to construct a 17MW hydro power plant at the point where water from Lake Hawea flows into the Hawea river.

Following some community concern around the requirement to deepen the river where the water would be discharged from the new hydro power station, Contact has come up with a new proposal that no longer requires deepening of the river channel.

Electricity demand in the Otago Lakes region has increased by over 75% in the last 10 years – more than four times the national average.

Contact Chief Executive Daniel Baldwin said that the company has already begun consulting the community about the new plan and is hopeful for strong community support for the updated project.