Coastal and Freshwater news

Cawthron scientist Paul Barter gets the state-of-the-art buoy ready for deployment
3 March 2017

New coastal monitoring technology launched in Fiordland

Meridian Energy has teamed up with Cawthron Institute to launch New Zealand’s first ever hybrid-energy powered water monitoring buoy.

Cawthron Senior Marine Scientist Paul Barter launched the buoy two weeks ago and has received excellent data so far, “The launch went very well. The buoy is now collecting information on weather, ambient light, and water salinity/temperature and sending it back to us here at Cawthron via the Iridium satellite network.

“To our knowledge, this is the first buoy in New Zealand to gather and send data to its HQ using power generated by both solar and wind power.

“We’ve designed the power generation in this way to address the challenge of monitoring the extreme Fiordland waters year round. In the winter there is very little daylight, so solar energy alone is not reliable, by adding wind power we ensure continuous monitoring.”

Due to the anti-biofouling technology used in this buoy, it should run for a full year without needing a service. Currently technicians have to service Meridian’s water quality monitoring buoys four times a year, so this advancement will represent a substantial cost saving over time.

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Meridian’s Statutory and Compliance Strategy Manager Andrew Feierabend advised his organisation has a long-standing relationship with Cawthron and water monitoring.

“Meridian has had an 18 year relationship with Cawthron Institute monitoring the adaptive monitoring programme at Doubtful Sound – which monitors the tailrace discharge at the Manapori power scheme.

“Buoy technology provides us real time access to data to understand any changes in the marine environment. If there are unexpected changes, we will be able to deploy appropriate research teams to go out and identify what those changes are and what’s causing those changes,” said Mr Feierabend.

Cawthron Institute custom designs and builds water-monitoring buoys for a range of uses. There is an expanding network of these buoys around New Zealand. The buoys collect important data that helps scientists, industry, and councils to better understand our coastal environments.

Media contact 
Nicole Taber – Cawthron Institute Communications and Marketing Advisor
Phone: +64 3 539 3212 
Mobile: +64 27 550 1552