Trustpower's 72MW Wairau river hydro scheme has been provisionally granted resource consent. The scheme is a dog technically - an Aqua-style big, stupid canal diversion scheme with no storage capacity, in an area which is already subject to regular droughts, and which is expected to get significantly drier in the next fifty years as a result of climate change. And it poses some significant risks to the environment, notably to the habitat of the endangered black tern and to the general environment of the river itself. Braided rivers like the wairau need variable flows, and the worry is that the diversion will smooth them out too much. However, those concerns have been somewhat mollified with the conditions the Marlborough District Council have imposed, including that it have no significant impact on endangered species and that changes in river flows "be no more than what would occur naturally". A lot will hinge on the precise interpretation of the latter, and it may very well end up in the Environment Court, but at first glance if these conditions are actually met then I don't see any reason for the project not to go ahead. Other than the technological aesthetics, that is (really, hydro without storage? isn't that missing the point?).