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New Zealand Geothermal Exploration and Exploitation Developments1

By
David Kear
David Kear
2
DSIR, Wellington, New Zealand.
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J. T. Lumb
J. T. Lumb
2
DSIR, Wellington, New Zealand.
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F. E. Studt
F. E. Studt
3
Formerly DSIR, Wellington, New Zealand; now with Kingston, Reynolds, Thom and Allardyce, consultants, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Published:
January 01, 1981

Abstract

New Zealand has announced a threefold to fourfold increase in the rate of geothermal development. This involves investigation of areas with a wide range of exploration and exploitation features and problems. Wairakei continues to produce about 1,200 GWh annually—over 6% of New Zealand’s total electricity generation.

The decision has been made to commission a second major station at Broadlands. Research continues to explore the area to greater depths (2 km) in graywacke basement to minimize pollution, corrosion, and subsidence problems. Reinjection studies continue.

Kawerau represented the first major attempt to use geothermal steam for nonelectrical purposes in a key export industry (pulp and paper). Further exploration has indicated high producing wells, with a probable future additional use for electricity.

Ngawha’s location, 200 km north of New Zealand’s main city of Auckland, is critical in an area lacking significant indigenous energy resources. For Ngawha to produce its expected 100 to 400 MW of power, adequate permeability must be found at depth in the basement graywackes.

Other areas currently being explored include Rotokaua, Taupo, Ruahine (near Rotorua), and Atiamuri. Prospecting techniques are being refined; and considerable planning is involved for environmentally acceptable exploitation, covering the factors of pollution, reinjection, changes in natural discharges, tourist features, and safety.

Long-term planning involves increased efficiency and the use of lower grade heat. Low-grade heat is far more widespread than geothermal areas, whose continued 25-year potential is currently estimated at 2,000 MW.

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Contents

AAPG Studies in Geology

Energy Resources of the Pacific Region

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
12
ISBN electronic:
9781629811802
Publication date:
January 01, 1981

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