New power station adds to grid capacity
18 January 2010
New power station adds to grid capacity
Mighty River Powers latest geothermal power station today (Monday 18 Jan) added electricity to the national grid after a weekend of testing.
The $430 million Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power station, north-east of Taupo, is the latest project in Mighty River Powers world-leading geothermal electricity development programme.
A joint venture between Mighty River Power and the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, the 132MW Nga Awa Purua station will supply sufficient electricity to power 130,000 homes – the equivalent of every home in Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo.
Further testing over the next two months will see electricity delivered to the national grid in stages before commissioning is finished with the station finally completed and providing maximum output in April. This is some six weeks ahead of target – a reflection of the excellent project planning and execution.
The addition of extra base load supply from Nga Awa Purua will be a valuable addition of secure, renewable electricity to the national grid this winter. The 132MW capacity will also be a reliable increase to the peak North Island supply capacity that was under pressure at times in 2008.
Nga Awa Purua becoming operational follows the commissioning of the 100MW Kawerau Geothermal Power Station in 2008 and is the forerunner to yet another major geothermal power station.
Mighty River Power, in partnership with Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, has recently lodged consents for a $400 million geothermal power station at Ngatamariki, 17kms north-east of Taupo.
The Chief Executive of Mighty River Power, Doug Heffernan, says the company is delighted to have „reached this crucial phase with Nga Awa Purua delivering power to the national grid.
“Its tangible evidence of our ability to deliver on our geothermal programme and it is another successful project in association with our maori partners,” says Mr Heffernan.
“We have been fortunate to develop a great co-operative business model with our Maori Land Trust partners – including Tauhara North No. 2 Trust here at Rotokawa – which enables projects such as Nga Awa Purua to become economically feasible given the significant capital investment required.”
“At $430 million for Nga Awa Purua; $300 million for Kawerau; and at least $400 million for Ngatamariki, its easy to see how we are nearing the end of our initial $1.2 billion geothermal investment programme,” says Mr Heffernan.
“These are great projects that are providing a secure source of renewable electricity to help power the New Zealand economy.
“However, its a huge challenge to fund this level of investment and to provide a reasonable return to the companys shareholders while at the same time providing additional sources of energy.
Mr Heffernan says the recent decision to locate the companys geothermal operations in Rotorua reflects the growth in the geothermal business and the need for operational staff to be closer to the geothermal reservoirs and the respective land owners.
Aroha Campbell, Chief Executive of the Tauhara North No.2 Trust, says the Nga Awa Purua project provides the Trust with the opportunity to make a worthwhile contribution to the “national good” whilst it exercises kaitiakitanga over the Rotokawa Geothermal Resource.
“We are pleased with the working relationship with Mighty River Power on this project which enables the Trust to achieve the aims of its social programmes, particularly in health and education, for the owners and beneficiaries of the Tauhara North No.2 Trust,” says Ms Campbell
“The Trust is pleased to be working with Mighty River Power in its geothermal projects to ultimately provide real benefits for our people and the region”.
Key Facts on the Nga Awa Purua Geothermal
A $430 million project providing renewable base load electricity to the national grid
132MW net-plant electricity output, enough to supply 130,000 homes – the equivalent of every home in Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo
Largest single-shaft geothermal turbine in the world
One 165 MW transformer converting electricity to the 220kV national grid voltage
300 degrees Celsius geothermal reservoir fluid temperature
45,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid will be extracted per day with the majority reinjected after energy extraction
7 production wells – 2000 - 2500 metres depth
4 injection wells – 3000 metres depth
9km of geothermal fluid extraction and injection pipeline
Injection 2 km south east of the power station
Over 7000 tonnes of equipment imported from 12 countries
Over 100,000 meters of cable installed
Why Geothermal is
Geothermal is a reliable „base load fuel – its available 24/7
Geothermal power stations have a high operational capability – nearly 100%
Geothermal energy is not weather-dependent as is hydro, wind and solar
Its environmentally friendly – the geothermal fluids are injected back into the earth
In Mighty River Powers co-ownership model, geothermal developments benefit the shareholders of the Maori Land Trust partners