29 Mar 2024

Tauhara, NZ Geothermal Power Station Targets Operations by Q3 2024

29 Mar 2024  by thinkgeoenergy   

Planned set up of the Tauhara geothermal power plant, NZ (source: Contact Energy)
Contact Energy has provided progress updates for the Tauhara geothermal power project in New Zealand, maintaining a target commercial operations date by winter (June to August) 2024.

According to a disclosure report to the New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX), the commissioning activities for the Tauhara power station are expected to start soon. At the earliest, the first synchronization to the system will happen by late April or early May 2024. After this, a 30-day reliability run will commence as a requirement for the start of commercial operations.

A previous statement from Contact Energy, published in November 2023, indicated that some elements of the steam separation plant had to be redesigned and modified. The company had run into issues including underperforming steamfield valves and liquid handling systems. This has set back the commercial operations data from the initial target of Q1 2024.

Contact states that it expects the Tauhara power station to operate at an initial capacity of 152 MW within Q3 of 2024. There is the potential of discovering latent commissioning issues within the time frame, so a range of timing outcomes within the quarter are possible. The full planned output of 174 MW will be targeted at the plant’s first planned outage following further optimization and plant modification.

Plans for the Tauhara geothermal power project were first reported back in 2019, with its initial planned capacity of 152 MW increased to 168 MW after the reservoir was evaluated to be more productive than expected. Electricity from the power plant will be sold to Genesis Energy under a 15-year PPA.

Through recent year, Contact Energy has provided several updates on the construction of the Tauhara geothermal power plant. The latest update in May 2023 indicates that the two turbines of the power plant, designed and built by Fuji Electric, had already been installed and that construction of the cooling tower and the steam and brine lines were ongoing.


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