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Intentions to call in Te Mihi power station

Contact welcomes intention to call in Te Mihi power station

Contact Energy today said the Government’s intention to call in resource consent applications for Contact’s proposed 225 megawatt Te Mihi geothermal power station near Taupo was an important step towards achieving New Zealand’s goal of having 90 per cent of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2025.

Contact Chief Executive David Baldwin said upon completion in 2011, the Te Mihi geothermal power station will provide enough renewable electricity to power more than 200,000 homes per year.

“By 2012 New Zealand will need additional electricity generating capacity in order to keep up with increasing demand. Contact’s Te Mihi power station will have a very important role to play in meeting that demand with renewable, climate-friendly geothermal power.

“The Government’s intention to call in the resource consent application for this project under the RMA will streamline the process and avoid unnecessary delays, increasing confidence that the plant could be generating electricity by 2011,” he said.

The call in process for Te Mihi will be conducted by a Board of Inquiry consisting of members with appropriate technical skills and an understanding of the local environment. All parties with an interest in the project will be able to make submissions on the project.

“At the end of the day the project will be judged on its merits, like any other resource consent application, but without the potential for lengthy appeals dragging the process out for a number of years,” said Mr Baldwin.

He said the proposed Te Mihi power station was clearly in the national interest and could not afford to be unnecessarily delayed.

“The re-consenting of Contact’s Wairakei and Clutha River / Mata’au hydro operations earlier this year took well over six years from beginning to end. New Zealand cannot afford to allow this to happen with large new renewable electricity generation projects.”

Mr Baldwin said he hoped a resource consent decision would be made on the Te Mihi project by the middle of 2008, which will enable the new geothermal power station to be in operation by 2011.

He said Contact was likely to seek call in of the company’s resource consent applications for a similar sized geothermal power station at Tauhara in Taupo in the second half of 2008.

ENDS

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