Mighty River committed to geothermal development
MEDIA RELEASE 6 March 2008
Mighty River Power committed to new geothermal development
Mighty River Power Chair Carole Durbin today announced the Board's commitment to support a new $450 million geothermal development proposed at Rotokawa, north of Taupo, with the final decision subject to completion of procurement contracts later this month.
"This will be the second power station at Rotokawa and in providing 132 MW generation capacity, it will be the second largest geothermal station in New Zealand,' said Ms Durbin.
The proposed development at Rotokawa is part of a significant geothermal expansion programme being undertaken by Mighty River Power in conjunction with its Maori partners and includes three other geothermal sites at Mokai, Kawerau and Nga Tamariki.
"With Maori joint venture partners the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, Mighty River Power has successfully operated within the existing Rotokawa steamfield and power station for ten years and the company has developed a track record as a responsible manager of the Rotokawa geothermal field during that time," said Ms Durbin.
The second Rotokawa power station, owned jointly with the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust and to be called Nga Awa Purua, will be built close to the existing one and will connect into existing 220kV transmission lines directly over the field. The station is expected to generate an average of 1100 GWh annually and provide reliable base-load energy that is not sensitive to climatic variations.
The station will take approximately two and a half years to construct and commission. A workforce of up to 250 will be on site during its construction and 12 permanent staff will run the power station once it becomes operational.
Mighty River Power's new 90 MW $300 million geothermal power station at Kawerau will also be commissioned this year, meeting approximately one-third of residential and industrial demand in the Bay of Plenty region.
Geothermal Power stations have a capacity factor of almost 100% and therefore are capable of producing up to three times the amount of energy as the same sized wind farm. The new Nga Awa Purua power station will generate the same amount of energy as a 400 MW wind farm and require much less transmission capacity. The energy it produces is sufficient to meet the total requirements of a community the size of Tauranga.
* The Rotokawa Joint Venture owns the wells and pipework supplying geothermal steam to the Mighty River Power operated 37MW power station, at Rotokawa which is located ten kilometres north east of Taupo. The proposed development will allow the joint venture to continue supplying geothermal steam to the existing power station and enable total generation on the Rotokawa geothermal field to be increased to approximately 165MW.
* As well as Rotokawa, Mighty River Power has made significant investment in new geothermal generation capacity at the following sites:
o Kawerau - construction of a new 90MW $300 million geothermal power station in Kawerau will be completed later this year, 2008.
o Mokai - through a 25% ownership of the Tuaropaki Power Company (TPC) in partnership with the Tuaropaki Trust. TPC is working on options to further develop the Mokai geothermal resource and to expand the current power station beyond its existing 112 MW capacity.
o Nga Tamariki - exploration drilling is expected to commence this year aimed at future construction of a 80MW geothermal power station.
* All the company's geothermal power stations and development projects involve partnerships with Maori reflecting the fact that Maori groups own the land that sits across the top of the resource and are actively participating in the utilisation of the resource.