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Ormat to develop 45MW New Zealand geothermal plant

US geothermal energy giant Ormat has won a build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract for a 45MW power plant with a consortium of Maori groups in New Zealand.

Ormat will undertake all exploration and development activities in the Tikitere geothermal field near Rotorua, on New Zealand’s north island.

If the project is deemed commercially viable, Ormat will supply the necessary equipment and build the power plant.

In return, Ormat will own and operate the project for 14 years before transferring full ownership to Tikitere Geothermal Power (TGL), a joint-venture investment vehicle for various Maori trusts.

During the initial 14 years Ormat will provide TGL with an unspecified income stream from the project, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

Like Ormat’s other plants in New Zealand, Tikitere will re-inject into the ground all of the geothermal fluid used after passing it through an air-cooling system.

By not consuming any water, the plant will have “virtually no environmental impact” while providing baseload power, says Ormat.

In May the company revealed a disappointing set of first-quarter financial figures, after being dragged to a $9m loss by problems at its North Brawley project in California.

But June has seen Ormat announce a spate of good news driven by the success of its product division, whose order backlog recently reached a record $230m.

Earlier this month Ormat announced a $130m contract – its largest ever – to supply equipment to and build the first stage of the Ngatamariki plant for New Zealand utility Mighty River.

The following day it received a $350m loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy for three projects in Nevada totalling 121MW.