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New Zealand to join int'l geothermal research partnership

10-26-2011 17:18 BJT

WELLINGTON, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's geothermal scientists will be collaborating with the world's leading geothermal researchers after the country joins an elite international group next month.

New Zealand would be admitted to the International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT) in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 16, Science and Innovation Minister Wayne Mapp announced Wednesday.

"Geothermal energy is one of our most important renewable energy resources with huge potential for growth," said Mapp.

"This recognition of our geothermal research programs will allow our scientists to collaborate with an elite group of researchers in the United States, Australia, Switzerland and Iceland."

Scientists from New Zealand research organizations were committed to finding new ways to harness the country's extensive geothermal fields, said Mapp.

"Innovation and clean energy is a big part of enabling New Zealand to grow the economy," said Mapp.

"This new international partnership will help keep us at the forefront of technology developments such as enhanced geothermal systems."

Established in 2008, the IPGT seeks to develop advanced, cost- effective geothermal energy technologies through international research co-operation.

New Zealand's geothermal electricity generation rose by 21 percent last year and accounted for 13 percent of total electricity generation, its highest recorded level.

The government is aiming to expand geothermal energy with three large geothermal projects in the pipeline by 2020.

The country's biggest geothermal project is to be Contact Energy's 250-megawatt Tauhara II geothermal project.

The project, being developed northeast of the central North Island town of Taupo, is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of around 270,000 homes when it becomes fully operational in 2015.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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