Our Projects

We are currently building the Tauhara geothermal powerstation in Taupō, Central North Island New Zealand. Construction is expected to begin in early 2021 with the powerstation expected to be complete and operational mid 2023.

Japanese engineering, procurement and construction contractor Sumitomo Corporation is leading the construction of the power station, in partnership with Fuji Electric and NZ company Naylor Love. Consultant Jacobs have been engaged to undertake design works of the surrounding project works including the steamfield, and local contractors will also be engaged for the construction of these parts of the project. MB Century have been engaged to drill the remaining geothermal wells required to fuel the power station.

The Tauhara powerstation is situated just off Broadlands Road east of Taupō.

Why Tauhara?

We believe Tauhara is New Zealand’s best low-carbon renewable electricity opportunity. It will operate 24/7, is not reliant on the wind blowing or the sun shining to generate power. Geothermal will play a crucial role in New Zealand’s transition away from fossil fuels.

Tauhara is a great low carbon resource being 0.05tCO2e/MWh.  By comparison, Gas CCGT is 9 x more, and gas peakers are 11 x more. To put this into context Tauhara could provide electricity to power 1 million EVs or 25% of New Zealand’s 4.1million domestic car fleet.

Tauhara can displace 450,000 tons of carbon emissions from fossil fuel generation. This is equivalent to removing over 200,000 petrol cars from the New Zealand roads.

Tauhara powerstation will be Contact’s sixth geothermal powerstation in the Central North Island region, adding to our existing over 80% renewable portfolio. Contact’s geothermal plants already supply 8% of New Zealand’s electricity and will increase to 10% once Tauhara is built.

Why now?

New Zealand is in the early stages of a decades-long transformation from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable electricity. Building Tauhara will be key in delivering on New Zealand’s Zero Carbon 2050 ambitions and updated 2030 targets.

We believe Tauhara is New Zealand’s best low-carbon renewable baseload electricity opportunity. It will operate 24/7, is not reliant on the weather and is ideal for displacing baseload fossil fuel generation from the national grid. Geothermal will play a crucial role in New Zealand’s transition away from fossil fuels, and Contact has the expertise in the geothermal field to deliver a world class renewable energy powerstation.

Why Contact?

Contact is one of the country’s largest electricity generators, with five existing geothermal power stations in the Central North Island region. We have a combined gross installed geothermal capacity of 431MW.

We have world class geothermal capability, with operational experience of running the worlds second longest electricity producing geothermal field (Wairakei, since 1958). Understanding the subsurface environment and managing the precious geothermal resource in a sustainable manner are key to the success of any geothermal development.  To achieve that, you’d have to have some of the top geothermal minds in the world on your team. We do.

We’re proud members of the Taupō community, and aim to be a good neighbour and a steward of resources that we have the privilege to operate and develop. Sustainability is core to our approach. That means taking care of the environmental, social, cultural and economic aspects of the development from start to finish.

How does geothermal energy work?

Geothermal power stations use naturally occurring geothermal activity to produce power which fuel our homes and businesses. Fluid from natural geothermal systems is brought to the surface by wells that typically vary in depth from 1000 to 3000 metres. At the surface this fluid is separated into steam and water. The steam is used in a turbine to generate electricity and the hot geothermal water is then injected back into the ground.

Local partnerships

The Tauhara Moana Trust owns land adjacent to where the power station will be built. We have a commercial agreement in place to allow for the utilisation of the geothermal resource beneath the Trust’s land. The land will be used to source or reinject geothermal fluid used in the power station. 

This partnership aims to create a long-lasting relationship between the Trust and Contact with both benefiting from the utilisation of the geothermal resource for generations to come. We are proud to be working alongside the Trust landowners in our geothermal developments in a mutually beneficial way. Throughout the nine years since the original deal was signed, we have maintained a relationship based on principles of open communication, trust and mutual respect to keep cooperation thriving.

Tauhara timeline
If you have any questions, please contact tauhara.comms@contactenergy.co.nz or 0800 000 458.