The first project to be commissioned in Contact's extensive geothermal development plans is likely to be a binary geothermal electricity generation plant, on Centennial Drive in Taupo's industrial area. At around 23 MW, this plant will generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power more than 20,000 homes per year.
Contact already holds resource consents for this project, which is likely to cost around $100 million, including wells and associated steamwork. The plant will be powered with steam and fluid from the Tauhara steamfield, and all used geothermal fluid will be reinjected back into the edge of the steamfield.
A binary plant uses geothermal steam and water to heat an intermediate liquid with a low boiling point to produce a vapour that spins steam turbines. This type of technology is particularly suited to plants using relatively low volumes of geothermal steam and fluid.