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Experts to Discuss Developing Geothermal Energy

7 June 2012

Experts to Discuss Nuts and Bolts of Developing Geothermal Energy

A comprehensive workshop covering the many aspects of developing geothermal energy gets underway in Taupo next week.

Called ‘From Start to Steam’, the four-day event starting on 11 June will feature specialists explaining the myriad of steps involved in developing geothermal energy either producing electricity for the national grid, or supplying heat energy for direct use applications such as industrial processing or timber drying.

“People tend to specialise in part of the process and this workshop will help them get a much broader understanding of the many components involved in developing geothermal energy,” said workshop organiser Brian Carey of GNS Science.

Mr Carey believes the event will be the most comprehensive of its type ever held in New Zealand. It has attracted about 90 people including groups from Indonesia, Chile, Australia, and the Philippines.

The event will feature two dozen presenters talking about their specialist areas, as well as case studies from New Zealand and overseas.

Rapid industry growth in the past five years was a key driving force for the workshop as it had led to a larger workforce and a greater need for knowledge-sharing.

Mr Carey said people who were relatively new to the industry would not be daunted as presentations would be pitched for a non-technical audience.

As well as exploration and feasibility assessments, at the other end of the process the workshop will cover plant design, environmental monitoring, economics, and risk management.

On the fourth day, a field trip is scheduled to Mighty River Power’s 140MW Nga Awa Pura power station 10km northeast of Taupo, as well as visits to an MB Century drilling rig and the Waiotapu geothermal tourist area.

There is also an optional two-day workshop on mitigating environmental impacts of geothermal development, which will be run by the International Energy Agency on June 15 and 16.

“Our aim is to see an industry that is well informed and a workshop such as this will almost certainly lead to more efficient geothermal developments that have sound credentials,” Mr Carey said.

The International Geothermal Association has provided sponsorship to cover student travel and registration costs, and at least 15 university students are taking advantage of this.

Main sponsors of the workshop are the New Zealand Geothermal Association and the Western Pacific Branch of the International
Geothermal Association. GNS Science is organiser and host. The venue is the Great Lake Centre in Taupo.

For more information on the workshop visit: http://www.gns.cri.nz/start2steam

ENDS

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