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NZ geothermal power generation in 2019 – report by NZGA

Wairakei geothermal plant, New Zealand (source: Commons/Wikimedia)
Alexander Richter 13 May 2020

Despite a slight drop in power generation in 2019, geothermal remains a key ingredient and the second largest supplier of electricity in New Zealand, so a recent research note shared by the New Zeland Geothermal Association.

In a note shared on its website, the New Zealand Geothermal Association (NZGA) provides an overview on power generation from geothermal energy in New Zealand for the calendar year of 2019.

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) show geothermal generation increased slightly (0.7%) during calendar 2019 from 7,386 GWh in 2018 to 7,439 GWh in 2019.   Geothermal remained the second largest power supplier, representing 17% of total generation. Total renewable generation fell slightly from 83.9% in 2018 to 82.4% in 2019 due to seasonal hydro conditions.

Drilling activity continued at the low level typical of the past few years.  Century Drilling drilled and completed three wells; one each by Ngati Tuwharetoa Geothermal Assets, Mercury Energy and Contact Energy.  Drill Force Rig 1 drilled one injection well for Eastland Generation.

Development activity continued in 2019; Top Energy’s 26 MWe Ngawha 3 project looks to commission later in 2020.  Contact Energy tendered the Tauhara II development (estimated at 120 to 150 MWe). The company intends to reach a final investment decision in 2020.

The article highlights the important and particularly stable role that geothermal energy plays in the electricity supply to New Zealand. With fluctuation for the key resources Hydro, geothermal has been the second most important fuel for power generation based on GWh produced. Natural gas has been dropping from a peak in 2000/ 2007 behind geothermal energy in 2013 and remained on third place.

An interesting overview is shared on the capacity factors for geothermal power plants in the U.S., Italy, Iceland and New Zealand.

To read the article and see the charts, see the original article on the NZGA Website.

Source: Ted Montague, NZGA “NZ Geothermal Power Generation in 2019“.