19 Aug 2014

Delay to power plant on Maori land

8:38 am on 19 August 2014

Plans for a new geothermal power station on Maori land is unlikely to go ahead for a few years, due to a reduction in electricity consumption.

Contact Energy is to build a plant on the Tauhara geothermal steamfield, north-east of Taupo, which would generate enough electricity to power about 270,000 homes.

When the project was first designed, the company intended to have the site operational by January next year.

But Contact Energy chief executive Dennis Barnes said the market is not right to build the power station, and supply and demand figures suggest that an investment is a good few years away.

Mr Barnes said the sector believes that geothermal energy is the next most competitive source of electricity supply for New Zealand.

Contact Energy has entered into a commercial arrangement with Tauhara Moana Trust, the owners of the land where the power station will be built, he said.