May 2019 NZGA Newsletter


Ngawha Expansion Project Update

Image published by NZ Herald, 14th Nov 2017
Top Energy wrapped up drilling of the 3 production plus 3 injection wells for the Ngawha expansion project at the end of January without major incident. The wells had a measured depth of up to 1800m and deviation of up to 700m. Testing confirmed the wells will provide the required production and injection capacity for the power station. This will support a welcome uplift in generation to 31.6 MWe (net) from the consented volume of geothermal fluid.

Major earth works for the power station platform and fluid conveyance pipe line routes progressed well through the first quarter of 2019, with some 250,000 m3 of soil being moved during the period. The contract to fabricate the horizontal separator vessel was awarded to Fitzroy Engineering while the contract to construct the fluid conveyance system was awarded to Culham Engineering. Detailed design and off-shore fabrication of power station components progressed during the period, as did design and procurement for the 110 kV transmission connection from the station to Kaikohe. Power station and fluid conveyance system contractors are due to arrive on site early 3rd quarter 2019.

Watch overview video of the Expansion project released in March 2019.


On the 25th March 2019, Joe Hotson was presented with a NZGA Contribution Award for the work he did 20 years ago in implementing Geo Steam Scrubbing; which is still supplying the mill with clean feed water. The award was presented by Brian Carey at the NTGA offices in Kawerau.

The NZGA social talk, “There’s gold in them there Wells” by Dr. Kevin Brown, on the 12th of April was well attended, with a feast had by all. Kevin gave a great summary of geothermal exploration in New Zealand and internationally, and a lot of food for thought. Thank you Kevin (and Ian and Paul) for kicking off this initiative. We hope to host several more of these throughout the year. Watch this space.

It is with regret that NZGA notes the passing on Sunday 14 April of Tumanako Wereta, Chair of Tuaropaki Trust. The trust is a Māori land trust that developed the Mokai Geothermal Power Station and then, with business partners, developed several other industries at Mokai using geothermal energy, including Gourmet Mokai and Miraka. The trust also has a large and diversified farming portfolio. Tumanako served on the Trust for almost 40 years, with the last 17 years as chairman.

NZGA involved in Northland Regional Plan Decisions

On Friday 3 May 2019, Northland Regional Council released its decisions on its Proposed Regional Plan. NZGA was represented last year at the hearing of submissions in relation to geothermal matters. Although NZGA submitted in its own right, we liaised with Ngawha Generation Ltd during the process to develop the most appropriate policy provisions to protect geothermal features while enabling ongoing use and development of the geothermal resource at Ngawha.

The main change we (and Ngawha Generation Ltd) sought and were granted was to have specific rules relating to the take of geothermal water, instead of having it lumped in with fresh ground water (and therefore be subject to Ngawha Generation Ltd’s freshwater aquifer allocation limits).

Other changes we succeeded in obtaining were, in summary:

  • Provide a definition to the term ‘geothermal surface feature’ which appeared in the Plan without being defined
  • Require some land use rules to have a setback from geothermal surface features
  • Require a heat limit for minor takes (to ensure sustainability)
  • Ensure the maps of geothermal Outstanding Natural Features align with those provided by Council’s consultant, Dr. Bruce Hayward
  • Require bore construction, alteration and decommissioning comply with established good management practices.

While we would have preferred the latter refer to the Code of Practice for Deep Geothermal Wells, we regard the changes made to the notified Regional Plan as generally positive.

While NZGA does not intend to appeal the decisions, we may decide to become involved in the appeal process depending on what appeals are filed by other parties.


Tuaropaki teams up with Hydrogenics Corporation to Deliver First Green Hydrogen Production Station to New Zealand

A 1.5 MW hydrogen production project is scheduled to be in operation by 2020 and will be a valuable asset supporting joint research and development initiatives by the Tuaropaki Trust and Obayashi Corporation, which are working towards implementing a hydrogen supply chain for New Zealand and Japan. The “green” (carbon neutral) hydrogen will be generated using electricity from stable, cost-effective geothermal energy in Mokai, Taupo, located adjacent to an existing Tuaropaki power plant.

Two Trustees reappointed to Top Energy Trust

Ken Rintoul and Bruce Mathieson have been reappointed for another four-year term to the Top Energy Consumer Trust. Both Trustees have been involved in the $182M Major Transaction application by Top Energy Limited as shareholders in 2017.


Energy research fund and Taranaki energy development centre

The Prime Minister announced on 9 May 2019, that an investment of $20M over four years will be spent to establish a new science research fund for cutting edge energy technology. A new $27M clean energy centre will also be built by the government in Taranaki. The National New Energy Development Centre (NNEDC) will help create new business and jobs to Taranaki.

Proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill

On May 8, the Government announced that it will introduce the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill into Parliament to address the long-term challenges of climate change. The Bill acts as a plan for the next 30 years to deliver action on climate change and creates a legally binding objective to limit global warming to no more than 1.5C with a net zero approach.

SEEQUENT: A new future for geothermal-The Utah FORGE project

SEEQUENT have kicked off a 5-yr partnership with the Utah FORGE project, which aims to provide research on enhanced geothermal system (EGS). The FORGE project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to support fundamental research that industry can use to support commercial system.


NZGA Seminar 2019 – Save the Date!

The 2019 New Zealand Geothermal Seminar will be held July 11, 2019 at the Millennium Hotel, Taupo. The theme for the seminar will be “Innovation and the Future of Geothermal in a Low Carbon World”. We will have an excellent selection of national and international speakers from both the geothermal and other industries on a range of topics as well as lots of good opportunities for networking and discussion.

NZGW 2019 “Innovation and the future of Geothermal in a Low Carbon World”
The 2019 Workshop will be held at the Owen G. Glenn Building, at the University of Auckland, 25-27 November 2019.

2020 World Geothermal Congress

WGC 2020 is just under a year away! Held 24 – 30 April 2020 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Final papers are due July 30, 2019.

Have you started organising your flights and accommodation for WGC 2020 yet? A note from the WGC 2020 Industry Committee: Everything is getting booked up quickly! Our travel agent has held a number of accommodation rooms and is organising flights which will both be confirmed start of June 2019.

Geosciences 2019

The 2019 Geosciences Conference will be held Sunday 24 (Icebreaker) to Wednesday 27 November at the University of Waikato, Hamilton.


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