Whakamānawa ā Taiao awards July 2023

Ngāwhā Generation Limited (NGL) has been recognised in two major awards at the Northland Regional Council’s 2023 Whakamānawa ā Taiao – Environmental Awards in Whangārei.

Ray Robinson, General Manager at NGL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Top Energy, says winning the environmental action in industry award and environmental action to address climate change award recognises NGL's commitment to contributing to a low-carbon future for Northland.

At the heart of the company’s efforts is the locally owned Ngāwhā Geothermal Power Station and an innovative team committed to reducing carbon emissions and protecting Northland’s environment.

Mr Robinson says the power station at Ngāwhā has been a 25-year strategic initiative to utilise naturally occurring geothermal resource and improve economic prosperity for people in the Far North.

Station Three (OEC3), commissioned on 31st December 2020, made the Far North a net exporter of electricity, providing energy independence (and flow-on benefits) to the local community.

One month later, the Climate Change Commission recommended the closure of the entire Ngāwhā operation as part of New Zealand’s carbon emissions reduction goal.

Mr Robinson says the recommendation was a considerable shock to the business and the community.

Although the final report retracted the recommendation, the cost of emitting greenhouse gases had increased significantly, and the cost of emissions tax forecast the closure of NGL.

New Zealand’s commitment to international climate change targets interrupted NGL’s business model … for the better.

Mr Robinson says the company embraced the challenge.

“In what might be seen as a departure from standard industry practice, an NGL operational team undertook the work internally, given the urgency of the situation and the slow advancement of solutions in the industry.”

The Non-Condensable Gas Re-injection (NCGR) project has resulted in innovative technology and methodology to reinject 100% of non-condensable gases extracted during the production of geothermal electricity.

Approximately 128,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent gases per annum will be eliminated.

At the time of this award entry, NGL is producing zero greenhouse gas emissions from two of its power stations. The third power station will cease the remaining 30% by the end of this year (2023), making it New Zealand’s first zero CO2 emitting geothermal generator.

NGL facilitates the net export of electricity 95% of the time from the Top Energy network.

“Once all stations have been converted, all the electricity consumed on the network during export periods will become carbon neutral.”

“We’re taking action to address the effects of climate change in our Far North communities and supporting our local businesses and consumers as we all transition to a low carbon economy,” says Mr Robinson.

In line with its commitment to sustainability, Top Energy Group aims to obtain carbon-zero certification across all its operations by early 2024. Should market conditions allow for the construction of additional power station, NGL will integrate NCGR into its design, using a philosophy they’re calling ‘zero carbon by design’.

NGL’s efforts have not only positioned them as a leader in sustainable energy solutions, but they have also set a benchmark for the entire industry. Through their dedication, innovation, and commitment to a zero-carbon future, NGL is driving New Zealand towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy landscape.

About Ngāwhā Generation Ltd

Ngāwhā Generation Limited (NGL) is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Top Energy Group operating Ngāwhā a small fleet of power stations in the small community of Ngāwhā in the Far North. The station generates 55 MW and supplies 125% of the Far North's electricity demand 95% of the year, with excess power exported south through the National Grid. Ngāwhā directly contributes to relieving the bottle neck of transmission located at Auckland, which must import electricity generated further south to supply Auckland, Whangarei and the rest of Northland.

For more information, contact:

Philippa White

021 2418740