NZGA 2020 New Zealand Annual Geothermal Review

NZGA 2020 New Zealand Annual Geothermal Review Wairakei geothermal facilities, Taupo/ New Zealand (source: Contact Energy)
Alexander Richter 22 Sep 2021

The annual review of activities and operations of the New Zealand geothermal sector for 2020 by NZGA provides great insights and gives a positive overview on development in the country.

The New Zealand Geothermal Association (NZGA) has released its second annual NZ Geothermal Industry Update earlier this year. With the report, NZGA tries to review what is happening as NZ de-carbonises and the geothermal industry expands.

This year, the commentary focuses on on-going operations as well as carbon emissions, carbon substitution, and a review of MFAT activities. This being a COVID year, the authors acknowledge the operations and maintenance staff across the industry that endured isolation from their families to protect the nation’s electricity system during the lockdown of April-May 2020.

The report shares details on the Electricity Power Supply, Carbon Emissions and Deplacement, Drilling and Completions Activity, Service Sector Activities, Industry M&A and Restructuring, and a “looking forward” chapter looking at new development.

Over the past year, the geothermal power generation has increased to 7,610 GWh with consistent production among all the geothermal fields, with Wairakei remaining the largest contributor. For New Zealand, geothermal represented around 17.4% of the total power generation in 2020 in the country. The total net installed geothermal power generation capacity reached 1,027 MW from 21 power plants.

Ormat Technologies is the largest original equipment manufacturer with 385 MWe of installed capacity, Fuji Electric with 285 MWe and Toshiba 160 MWe.

Covid though impacted the industry’s activities, e.g. with delay on efforts on direct use.

On emissions, it is reported that MW-weighted average emissions intensity of 14 geothermal power plants in the country is 69gCO2e/ kWh (net), which represents a decline from 73 gCO2/ kWh in 2019 with a linear decline rate of 6% per year.

With a lockdown of two weeks due to covid , drilling and related services have increased with 7 deep and 7 shallow wells drilled in 2020 with most of it in the Tauhara field. MB Century drilled 5 of the deep wells and company Big Ben two of the wells.

The international geothermal initiatives by the country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs were largely disrupted by the pandemic with a slow down in activities.

The New Zealand geothermal service sector has been quite busy despite Covid with work internationally, corporate development and expansion etc.

With regards to new development, clearly the announcement by Contact Energy to push forward with the Tauhara II geothermal development of 152 MW has been quite a big boost for the sector.

You can find the report on the NZGA website here (pdf).

Source: NZGA