ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

Indigenous peoples groups plan 50 MW project on NZ Northern Island

Reported from New Zeland, a international indigenous peoples project aims to develop a geothermal power plant of up to 50 MW in the Bay of Plenty, on the North Island of New Zealand.

“The development will be a joint venture between the Kawerau A8D Ahuwhenua Trust, Hawaiian-owned Innovations Development Group (IDG) and Eastland Group, operator of Gisborne’s electricity network, port and airport.

They have an exclusive development right for 170 hectares of land belonging to the trust, not far from the 9MW geothermal power station Eastland Group bought in early 2010.

The development is expected to be done over several stages, with the first likely to take about two years. The initial stage one project is potentially a 10-15MW plant costing $45-60 million, with Eastland Group brought in to provide the financial backing and technical expertise.

The power generated will be fed back into the Bay of Plenty community using local electricity lines, where possible.

“This is very much a three-way partnership,” says IDG founder Robbie Cabral. “IDG were brought on as development experts by the Kawerau A8D Ahuwhenua Trust, and Eastland became involved when they sought out financial backing and technical experts in power generation.”

The Kawerau project has been named Te Ahi O Maui, which loosely translated means “the fire of Maui” — capturing the essence of the ngawha’s (geothermal fluid) journey from Hawaii to Aotearoa, and the belief that the Chief Ngatoroirangi summoned the heat from his homeland Hawaii’iki. The demigod Maui sent it from Hawaii through another demigod Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire.

Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd described the project as an exciting one for the group.

They were keen to expand further into the power generation sector, particularly renewable energy.

There was an existing commercially-viable geothermal well on the land, and an assessment of the area had shown a significant additional resource underneath the A8D block.

Innovations Development Group, established in 1998, is a strategic planning and development company that conducts business in a socially- responsible, globally-green manner that is respectful of native cultures. IDG is describing the project as the world’s first Native-to-Native trade deal.

They developed the Native-to-Native trade concept to help indigenous people who wanted to develop their lands and resources, but needed assistance to do so.

IDG principals work with both their investment partners and native counterparts, to bridge cultures and produce projects that yield returns to all stakeholders — while leveraging resources in a manner that preserves cultural traditions and respects sites of significant cultural interest.

This collaboration is aimed at forging intellectual and financial capital resources from strategic alliances and working with indigenous communities in non-traditional ways to create exceptional long-term opportunities.

A cultural consultation process will be worked through to ensure the right protocols are in place before any development on the trust land is started.

IDG’s senior adviser Robbie Le’a Kapi’olani Cabral says the structure used will ensure training, employment and substantive participation of the Maori people in the development of their resources.

“We structured the deal to protect those rights while delivering a generous return to investors and long-term energy diversification for the country.”

Source: The Gisborne Herald

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