Increasing environmental awareness in the 1990s and 2000s made gaining consents for hydroelectric development more difficult. Power companies became more cautious about committing large sums of money to a project. The North Bank Tunnel project (in purple) was an example of this. Power company Meridian was granted water-only resource consents in 2008. The consents indicated the water resource was available, but did not allow the company to build the power station. Meridian could then begin engineering investigations, and community consultation.
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