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166 MW Te Mihi power plant officially opened in NZ

166 MW Te Mihi power plant officially opened in NZ Geothermal drilling at Te Mihi west of Wairakei, New Zealand. Source: Rjglewis, Commons/ Wikimedia
Francisco Rojas 14 Aug 2014

Contact Energy has officially opened the new state-of-the-art Te Mihi geothermal power plant near Wairakei in NZ, which operates effectively at generation costs under coal and gas.

Contact Energy officially opened the Te Mihi geothermal power station, near by the Wairakei power station. Following its announcement back in 2011, the plant is now being inaugurated even though if started producing power late last year and the plant was behind schedule for the better part of 10 months.

A local source has clarified that the gross capacity is actually 166 MW, and the net addition to Wairakei will be around 114 MW.

The chief executive Dennis Barnes of Contact Energy said that Te Mihi is a “mid-life” refurbishment of Wairakei geothermal project, and aims at providing a true renewable power alternative to fossil fuels, Barnes said.

This new project is extremely cost effective and can compete with coal and gas fired plants in the country by providing a cheap and reliable source of electricity. On this same matter, Mr Barnes was asked when wold the gas power plants in his company be retired, but could not provide a specific date yet he is confident that they will close eventually since the new power generation cost of Te Mihi is “very low”.

“Standalone, if the load were growing and you were looking to build a new power station, geothermal is more competitive than gas or coal,” Barnes said.

Local news inform that “Contact has a consent to build a 250MW Tauhara geothermal project, which the company said was “New Zealand’s most attractive new generation option”.

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Source: Stuff Website