Geothermal innovation park planned at Ngawha, New Zealand

Testing of production well at Ngawha project, New Zealand (source: Top Energy)
Carlo Cariaga 19 Mar 2019

The feasibility study for a geothermal innovation park planned in Ngawha, New Zealand is set to receive $890,00 in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund.

A planned innovation and enteprise park near the Ngawha geothermal field in New Zealand will receive NZ$890,000 in funding from a Provincial Growth Fund to test the feasibility of the plans.

It will be explored how the geothermal resource can be used to support higher-value product lines from businesses that already exist in the region, such as honey production and horticulture.

The project has great potential to make better use of the region’s natural resources, according to local MP Kelvin Davis.  “This will be an actively managed hub that will bring together complementary activities such as manufacturing, construction, innovation, and research and development. It will support training and pathways to employment for locals.”, Davis added.

Far North Holdings, commercial arm of the local council, bought the 165 hectares site from local energy company Top Energy.

Joseph Stuart, general manager of business innovation and growth at regional promotion body Northland Inc., says any facilities developed would be available on an open-access basis, like those at NZ Food Innovation Network sites in Manukau and Waikato.

Geothermal heating could be used for glasshouses or for powering cool stores. The area is also expected to enjoy cheaper electricity supply from Top Energy’s Ngawha power station to the south.

If the project is confirmed as viable, the council and Northland Inc. will seek a private scheme change to create a special purpose precinct that could cater for the broad range of potential activities. These could include everything from on-site residential training to biofuel manufacturing.

It was also announced today that the redevelopment of the nearby Te Waiariki Ngawha geothermal springs will receive a $1.79 million investment. According to Davis, who is also minister of tourism, the springs have received more than 40,000 visitors in 2017, an improvement to the 22,000  two years prior even without any active marketing.

“This project has the potential to further build the Mid-North’s total visitor market and provide employment for up to 30 people, while delivering benefits to the local community through enhancing an important local landmark.”, added Davis.

An earlier feasibility study for the redevelopment was funded with $260,000 from the PGF.

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