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NZ Geothermal Week back this year with a sustainability twist

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

After a successful inaugural event last year, NZ Geothermal Week returns to Taupō this month, putting the spotlight on New Zealand’s world-class geothermal industry and its work to support a sustainable energy future in New Zealand.

Rick Keehan, chief executive of Taupō district’s economic development agency Amplify, says this year’s event line-up focuses on the drive toward achieving environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability, where both the geothermal industry and local communities can thrive well into the future.

He says NZ Geothermal Week will showcase the social, investment, business and employment benefits geothermal energy brings to the Taupō district and New Zealand as a whole.

"Twenty events take place during NZ Geothermal Week this year, celebrating the work we’re doing together to advance our world-class industry, right here in the heart of the action - the Taupō Volcanic Zone," says Keehan.

"Geothermal energy brings many benefits, and the industry has an important story to share, particularly as it strives to realise its quadruple bottom line goals around delivering economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability," he says.

New Zealand is the fifth largest generator of geothermal power in the world, and over 95% of the country’s geothermal power is generated in the Taupō Volcanic Zone - about 17% of New Zealand’s total electricity generation and enough to power half of New Zealand’s homes.

A further 168MW is currently being installed by Contact Energy at Tauhara, an $818 million project that is due to be completed next year and features in the line-up.

Māori are key to realising the potential of geothermal as guardians, investors, operators and employees in the industry. Several iwi trusts own and operate significant geothermal assets, reflecting Mauri values as they develop, operate and sustain this taonga.

"Some of the industry’s newest ventures include He Ahi, a clean energy park being established by Te Pae o Waimihia, and Tuaropaki Trust’s hydrogen business, which will be featured during event week," Keehan explains.

Geothermal will play an important part in New Zealand achieving its future Net Carbon Zero goals as the only renewable source of electricity currently available in the country that can deliver electricity 24/7 year-round, independent of rainfall, sunshine or wind.

In addition to electricity, geothermal heat energy - "geoheat" - is also used as a renewable, cost-effective, low-carbon heat source for industrial processes and primary production systems as an alternative to fossil fuels, and the industry aims to nearly double this usage by 2030. Geothermal resources are also providing a sustainable source of valuable minerals, such as silicon and lithium.

NZ Geothermal week kicks off on 24 July and runs through to Friday, 29 July. The programme includes events for the local community, businesses, schools, and industry stakeholders, and is expected to attract around 3,000 participants.

Industry sponsors and partners include Contact Energy, GNS Science, MB Century, Mitchell Daysh, Solenis, Western Energy, NZGA, Women in Geothermal and Bay of Connections

For full event details and to register, visit www.taupo.biz/geothermalweek22.

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