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Crown & Contact Reach Resolution On Wairakei

Crown And Contact Energy Reach Resolution On Crown Lands At Wairakei, Taupo

The Crown and Contact Energy Ltd announced today an agreement that protects the current and future use of Crown lands at Wairakei for recreation, tourism, forestry and geothermal electricity generation.

The agreement concludes outstanding land transfer matters related to the 1988 sale of the Crown’s electricity generation assets at Wairakei, Taupo to Contact’s forerunner – the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ).

Contact Energy chief executive Steve Barrett welcomed the agreement: “This a good outcome for the Crown, Contact and Taupo. The agreement provides certainty around the ongoing use of Wairakei for geothermal electricity generation while protecting the special character of the area and its use for tourism and forestry purposes.

“The agreement is particularly significant given that Wairakei Geothermal Power Station is a key component of the national electricity system, providing over four per cent of New Zealand’s electricity supply. Together with Contact’s Poihipi Geothermal Power Station, Wairakei contributes around two thirds of the electricity generated from geothermal sources in New Zealand.”

The agreement between the Crown and Contact Energy resolves all outstanding land transfer matters related to the Crown’s 1988 sale of rights to the Crown lands at Wairakei (formerly known as the Wairakei Tourist Park) to the former ECNZ.

Contact Energy Ltd became the owner of those rights and other assets including ownership of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in 1996 when it was split from ECNZ.

The Crown continues to own the land and underlying geothermal resource under the Crown lands at Wairakei. The 1,579 hectare area is located north of the Taupo township and is used for tourism, recreation, forestry and geothermal electricity generation.

Key outcomes of the agreement include: Contact preserves the sole right to access the underground geothermal resource at Wairakei for current and future electricity generation; Contact has the ability to occupy specific sites to install geothermal wells, pipes and other equipment. Any such development would be subject to usual Resource Management Act processes; The Crown preserves prime tourism and scenic areas for current and future use. These areas have been identified by the Crown and include the Craters of the Moon and existing tourism operations along the Waikato River; The Crown further preserves areas identified as important for forestry use.

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