New Zealand’s first geothermal power plant in four years has now entered the commissioning phase from the Kawerau geothermal reservoir in the Bay of Plenty.
Stuff media reported that the green light for the Te Ahi O Maui station came with resource consents in mid-2014 for Eastland Group, a Gisborne-based infrastructure company.
Chief executive Matt Todd said: “Operational checks are now being undertaken to allow commissioning to begin.”
The website said initial heating up of the plant has begun, with first synchronisation of the plant to the national grid expected to occur in the coming days.
A reliability run will follow an extensive testing regime, which is being conducted with Ormat Technologies Inc, an Israeli company said to be a world leader in development of binary cycle geothermal power plants.
Todd says that Eastland Group’s original business case had Te Ahi O Maui being commissioned from August 2018.
“As with any multi-year project of this scale and complexity, many activities run in parallel. The construction component was delivered ahead of plan, and we’re beginning commissioning only a few weeks behind our initial ambitious schedule."
The new power station will reportedly provide power for over 25,000 homes/
The Te Ahi O Maui facility consists of three geothermal production wells, two geothermal injection wells, an Ormat binary power station similar to many others already in operation in New Zealand and around the world, and a transmission connection to the national grid.
Consents allow for the extraction of 15,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid daily from the Kawerau geothermal reservoir, for the next 35 years. Stuff said nearly 100% of this fluid will be injected back into the reservoir, ensuring the operation is sustainable.