The construction of a geothermal power station in Taupo is set to inject $1 billion of investment into the region.
Contact Energy has received provisional approval for the Tauhara plant under a speeded-up resource consent process.
Final approval is expected before Christmas.
Managing director David Baldwin says Tauhara could be fully operational by 2015.
If approved, the station would produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 270,000 houses.
An Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry received 60 submissions on the project.