Mighty River Power’s Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Plant connected to grid
Mighty River Power's new Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station, New Zealand’s largest single generator geothermal power station, is one step closer to completion after being connected to the National Grid in early October 2009.
Reported earlier this month by New Zealand’s Mighty River Power, “The Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station, New Zealand’s largest single generator geothermal power station, is one step closer to completion today after being connected to the National Grid.
Nga Awa Purua, located north-east of Taupo, will be capable of feeding 132MW of electricity into the power system when it becomes fully operational next year.
Before Nga Awa Purua can begin generating into the National Grid, Transpower will first feed power into the new station to test equipment in the plant, including more than 150 motors for pumps and fans, the control system equipment, and the plant to separate steam from the geothermal fluid for use in the turbine.
Mighty River Power’s Nga Awa Purua Project Manager, Paul Ware, says that connecting a power station of this size to the Grid is a major operation and required much cooperation between Transpower and Mighty River Power.
“This is a critical milestone for the project, and one that we have been working towards over the last year. When the station is up and running we will be feeding enough electricity into the national grid to power 130,000 houses – the equivalent of nearly every house in Christchurch,” says Mr Ware.
As part of the project, Transpower needed to construct a new substation and a ‘tee’ connection into its existing 220 kV Ohaaki to Wairakei transmission line.
Transpower’s communications manager Rebecca Wilson said that due to the close collaboration between designers, technicians and contractors from Transpower and Mighty River Power, the connection process all went according to plan.
“We look forward to seeing the Nga Awa Purua project completed next year, and helping towards meeting New Zealand’s energy needs,” she said.
The Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station is a joint venture between Mighty River Power and the Tauhara North No.2 Trust. It is another important contributor to Mighty River Power’s growing geothermal programme and the co-ownership model it has developed with the Trust. The Trust’s investment in such projects enables it to grow its assets for the benefit of its shareholders, particularly in health and education initiatives for its people.
According to recent news, Mighty River Power Ltd. is expected to seek planning approval for a fifth geothermal power plant by the end of the year. Contact Energy, half-owned by Origin Energy Ltd., is also considering constructing two new steam field generators with a combined capacity of more than 400 megawatts.