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Prime Minister opens geothermal power station

Published: 1:04PM Saturday May 15, 2010 Source: ONE News

  • Contact Energy thermal plant at Wairakei (Source: ONE News)
    Contact Energy thermal plant at Wairakei - Source: ONE News

Prime Minister John Key has officially opened New Zealand's newest renewable energy power station near Taupo.

The Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station is a joint venture between Mighty River Power and the Tauhara North No.2 Trust.

Mighty River Power chairperson Joan Withers says the success of the $430 million project was underpinned by a strong partnership which saw the two organisations work together on the development of the Rotokawa steam field for a decade.

"Today...we are celebrating the opening of one of the largest geothermal power stations to be built anywhere in the world in the past 10 years," says Withers.

The power station has a capacity of 140MW and will produce enough electricity to meet 3% of New Zealand's electricity needs.

The chief executive of the Tauhara North No.2 Trust says the project has been significant on a global scale and the returns from the Trust's investment in Nga Awa Purua will help grow the wealth of its owners.

"The Nga Awa Purua Power Station allows us to take a treasured natural resource and use it to bring prosperity to our people and to benefit the country as a whole," says Aroha Campbell.

She says the investment will fund important health and education initiatives.

Mighty River Power chief executive Doug Heffernan says that with the addition of Nga Awa Purua, around 14% of New Zealand's electricity supply now comes from geothermal energy.

"New Zealand has geothermal resources that are the envy of the world, and as a country we are now recognised as leading the way in developing this renewable resource to produce electricity for our homes, businesses and industry," says Heffernan.

He says Mighty River Power has grown from having no geothermal capacity at all in 1999 to holding an ownership interest in almost 400MW today.

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