CLEAN­TECH OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES and the com­pa­nies chas­ing them

Element - - Business -

Af­ter more than 60 years in the busi­ness, New Zealan­ders can con­fi­dently claim to be world lead­ers in the de­sign of geo­ther­mal power sys­tems. There are now more than 30 dif­fer­ent national and in­ter­na­tional New Zealand-based com­pa­nies work­ing away on this sec­tor.

For ex­am­ple, en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tants Beca Geo­ther­mal Power Ser­vices, whose par­ent com­pany was founded in New Zealand at the end of the First World War, has more than 2400 staff op­er­at­ing in 17 of­fices around the world. It has re­cently been in­stru­men­tal in the in­stal­la­tion of 240MW of geo­ther­mal gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity for Mighty River Power, at its Kaw­erau and Nga Awa Pu­rua sta­tions to­gether rep­re­sent­ing a to­tal in­vest­ment of more than $640 mil­lion.

There are also a host of sup­port ser­vices and en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies work­ing along­side the big names. For in­stance, Kaw­erau-based Al­lied In­dus­trial En­gi­neer­ing has be­come a go-to op­tion for re­pairs, main­te­nance and up­grades for geo­ther­mal projects in New Zealand and else­where around the Pa­cific. Mike Allen has 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the sec­tor, and is cur­rently ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Geo­ther­mal New Zealand in­dus­try group. “We have just spent al­most $2 bil­lion on new geo­ther­mal plant in New Zealand. No­body else in the world has been do­ing that for the last 10 years, so we are well ahead of the mar­ket.

“We’ve been do­ing it since the 1970s and have a global rep­u­ta­tion. We were in­volved in the first geo­ther­mal plant in In­done­sia, and we have pro­grammes there and in Kenya, the Philip­pines and Chile. We could do even more if we have a strong in­vest­ment sup­port be­hind us. Geo­ther­mal, like many re­new­able en­ergy mar­kets, is a rel­a­tively high cost for mar­ket en­try so that’s al­ways a chal­lenge.”

The in­dus­try is cur­rently work­ing on ex­pand­ing its world­wide role from a fo­cus on con­sult­ing to con­struc­tion and even own­ing and op­er­at­ing over­seas plants with in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment part­ners.

A geo­ther­mal steam tur­bine. sup­plied.


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