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Green light for power station
11 September 2015
Green light for power station

TE Ahi O Maui geothermal project at Kawerau has been given the green light and drilling work to obtain geothermal energy for the power station will begin in April next year.

The project has been approved by its partners, the Eastland Group, through the Gisborne-based community trust that owns it, and the Kawerau A8D Ahu Whenua Trust.

The A8D trust owns the land where the geothermal power plant will be built, 2.3 kilometres north-east of the Kawerau township.

Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd said the project would be designed to generate approximately 20 megawatts of electricity.

“The plant has the potential to generate enough power to supply 20,000 homes with their annual electricity needs.”

A8D trustee Tomai Fox said the approval was a huge milestone, and the realisation of a long-held trust dream. “We look forward to completing this project as it will provide long-term benefits to the trust.”

Our project team has worked really hard to achieve this and make sure the project is done in a culturally- and environmentally-acceptable way, too.”

Mr Todd said the project had all the necessary approvals to proceed and while the partners believed it was viable there were still many complex economic decisions ahead.

“Market conditions remain tight but they continue to support the development of the plant on the basis that all the suppliers we’re talking to are able to deliver to our business case numbers.

“We are currently looking for favourable conditions from enthusiastic suppliers.”

Mr Todd said resource consents had been awarded to allow for the construction and operation of the project, and the taking and discharge of 15,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid daily from the Kawerau geothermal reservoir for 35 years.

“The plant will operate within the conditions of its resource consent, which require some level of fluid to be re-injected back into the reservoir to ensure the field is adequately replenished.

“The exact amount of reinjection will depend on the final design of the plant.”

Mr Todd said April 2016 was the earliest drilling would begin, with the plant likely to be operational about two-and-a-half years after that.

“This project makes excellent economic sense to us and our partners.

“It has a strong positive cash flow, and will provide long-term benefits for the company and add value to our shareholder as well as our partner, the A8D Trust and its owners.

Mr Todd said Te Ahi O Maui created diversification for Eastland Group and, once completed, would mean approximately 20 percent of its investments were outside the Tairawhiti region.

Source: Whakatane Beacon

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