Contracts awarded for New Zealand geothermal project

Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and consortium partners SNC-Lavalin and McConnell Dowell have been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the development of Contact Energy’s 166 MW Te Mihi geothermal project in New Zealand.

Two new units of 83 MW each will be constructed near the 52-year-old Wairakei geothermal power station, northwest of Taupo.

Once completed in 2013, approximately 45 MW of the existing Wairakei geothermal station will be decommissioned, resulting in a net increase from the combined Te Mihi and Wairakei stations of about 114 MW.

Contact Energy managing director, David Baldwin said the commitment to Te Mihi reflects the company’s view that geothermal is New Zealand’s most cost-effective new base-load generation.

“The additional 114 MW is expected to be required by the market by 2013 as economic growth resumes, and will also contribute to lowering Contact Energy’s average cost of generation,” Mr Baldwin said.

PB regional director for New Zealand, Derek McCoy congratulated Contact Energy for its commitment to the development of new and sustainable power generation solutions.

“These solutions will ultimately contribute to the ongoing security of New Zealand’s electricity supply,” Mr McCoy said.

“Projects like Te Mihi also support the New Zealand Government’s target of 90 per cent power generation from renewable sources by 2025.

“As a leading service provider to the New Zealand power sector, we look forward to successfully delivering this project with our consortium partners and contributing our strong expertise in geothermal power design.

“We are delighted to be a part of one of New Zealand’s most significant and exciting infrastructure projects.”