Mighty River Power closer to completing Nga Awa Purua plant

Alexander Richter 18 Jan 2010

New Zealand's Mighty River Power is a step closer to completing its 132 MW Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station and has secured consents for another geothermal station at Ngatamariki, near Taupo.

According to local news, New Zealand’s “Mighty River Power is a step closer to completing its $430 million Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station and has lodged consents for another $400 million geothermal station at Ngatamariki, near Taupo.

The state-owned company said testing at Nga Awa Purua was conducted over the weekend and electricity was added to the national grid.

The 132 MW station north east of Taupo, is a joint venture between Mighty River and the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust and is a welcome new addition to electricity reliability to the peak North Island, the company said.

Maximum output, expected in April, will provide power to 130,000 homes – or the equivalent of every home in Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo. Until then, testing will continue, with electricity added to the grid in stages.

The planned station at Ngatamariki, 17 kilometres north east of Taupo, is also in partnership with the trust.

Mighty River Power chief executive Doug Heffernan said it had been fortunate to develop a cooperative business model with Maori Land Trust partners, including Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, that enabled such projects to be feasible, given the significant capital investment needed.

“At $430 million for Nga Awa Purua; $300 million for Kawerau; and at least $400 million for Ngatamariki, its easy to see how we are nearing the end of our initial $1.2 billion geothermal investment programme,” he said.

“These are great projects that are providing a secure source of renewable electricity to help power the New Zealand economy.”

However, he said funding that level of investment was a challenge along with providing a reasonable return to the government and additional sources of energy.

Tauhara North No.2 Trust chief executive Aroha Campbell said the Nga Awa Purua project provided the Trust with the opportunity to make a worthwhile contribution to the “national good” while exercising kaitiakitanga over the Rotokawa Geothermal Resource.

“We are pleased with the working relationship with Mighty River Power on this project which enables the Trust to achieve the aims of its social programmes, particularly in health and education, for the owners and beneficiaries of the Tauhara North No.2 Trust,” he said.”

Source: The National Business Review