Geothermal direct heat use has been given a boost with the release of the New Zealand Geothermal Association’s (NZGA) Geoheat Strategy for Aotearoa NZ in June, and the confirmation of new funding to promote direct heat use through the Bay of Connection’s Energy Strategy. These initiatives have been closely aligned, with a focus on stimulating and coordinating new investment in direct heat use, first regionally and then nationally. The Geoheat Strategy creates a national framework to grow direct heat use and its implementation is now underway, with the establishment of an experienced Governance Group coordinated by the NZGA. The Group members are:
- The current President of the NZGA, who will be the chair; currently Andy Bloomer
- Andrea (Andy) Blair, representing economic development interests
- Taparoto Nicholson, representing Maori interests
- Mike Dunstall, representing industry interests
- Stephen Daysh, representing planning and regulatory considerations.
The inaugural meeting of the GeoHeat Strategy Governance Group was held at Wairakei on Monday 21st August.
Significant gains have also been made with the creation of a new Geothermal Business Development Lead role, as part of work being delivered by the Bay of Connections and its supporting partners. The role is being jointly funded for two years, with Government funding of $150,000, to match a further $150,000 from Bay of Connections and industry partners, including $10,000 from NZGA. The role is aimed at stimulating demand from industry, with the target to create 400 jobs for direct use geothermal projects in the BOC area by 2025. It is hoped that longer term this initiative may be extended more widely. Read more here.