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Published: 2002-08-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is to hear Contact Energy’s application to take geothermal fluid from the Wairakei Field before hearing a rival application from Geotherm Group Ltd.

The two competing applications want to take and discharge geothermal fluid and other activities at Wairakei. Both companies applied at similar times for the same resource, forcing Environment Waikato to decide the order of priority in assessing the applications under the Resource Management Act.

This week’s Regulatory Committee heard there was potentially not enough resource available to meet both demands, and it was important to decide what order they should be heard in.

Energy Programme Manager Mark Brockelsby said previous cases had established that competing applications should not be assessed by comparing the relative benefits and effects of each, but on a “first come, first served” basis.

Contact made its application on March 30 last year and met the minimum standards for a valid application. It applied to continue operations and increase its take to 245,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid per day, discharging 144,000 tonnes through re-injection to the field.

Geotherm applied on March 29 last year, did not meet minimum standards and resubmitted on August 7. Further information required was supplied on October 3. It is applying for a new power station proposal, including take and discharge of 70,000 tonnes of fluid per day.

Contact’s application was ready to be notified on September 2, about seven weeks before the Geotherm application. This established that Contact’s applications had priority and could be heard first, he said.