Large geothermal project welcomed

  • Gerry Brownlee
Energy and Resources

Contact Energy's Tauhara II geothermal project will be an important step toward New Zealand achieving its target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2025, Energy and Resources and Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said today.

"Tauhara II will be New Zealand's largest geothermal plant and the news of the draft decision to grant resource consent is very positive," Mr Brownlee said.

The 250MW geothermal power station on the Tauhara geothermal steamfield, northeast of Taupo, is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of around 270,000 average homes.

"Not only will Tauhara II be an important economic development for the Taupo region, but geothermal energy is an important part of New Zealand's electricity generation mix - it provides year-round supply and is not subject to the vagaries of weather.

"Geothermal electricity developments like Tauhara II are a good example of achieving both economic and environmental gains," Mr Brownlee said. 

Tauhara II is expected to bring around $1 billion of investment into the Taupo region.

Renewable generation accounted for 73 per cent of electricity generation in New Zealand in 2009 - the highest level of renewable generation since 2004.