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Contact geothermal project gets green light

The Tauhara II geothermal project has received a tentative go-ahead after an independent board of inquiry released a draft decision in its favour.
A final decision on whether resource consents should be granted to the project – about 250MW baseload

Nina Fowler
Mon, 01 Nov 2010

The Tauhara II geothermal project has received a tentative go-ahead after an independent board of inquiry released a draft decision in its favour.

A final decision on whether resource consents should be granted to the project – about 250MW baseload, to be built on 5.5km of farmland northeast of Taupo – is expected before the end of the year.

The project will be New Zealand's largest geothermal plant if consent is given.

Contact managing director David Baldwin said Contact was “delighted” with the draft decision to grant consents.

“We are also pleased that having been part of the new Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry process we will likely receive a final decision by Christmas,” he said, in a release to NZX today.

Required consents for the project include a new switchyard and the realignment and modification of a section of the existing 220kV Wairakei to Whirinaki, and a permit to take and use up to 213 kilotonnes per day of geothermal water and associated energy and heat.

Multiple well drilling and water discharge permits are also required.

Under the amended Resource Management Act, the new EPA board of inquiry consent process sets a deadline of nine months for a decision from time of notification.

Energy and Resources and Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee also welcomed the draft decision.

He described the station - expected to bring around $1b of investment into the Taupo region - as a good example of achieving both economic and environmental gain.

Nina Fowler
Mon, 01 Nov 2010
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Contact geothermal project gets green light
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