The 250MW Tauhara-2 project follows a 23MW geothermal binary power station already being built in Taupo. The Wellington-based company also holds consents for a 220MW geothermal power station at Te Mihi.

Contact Energy said that the resource consent application is being considered under the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) process to get a decision within nine months.

David Baldwin, managing director of Contact Energy, said: “Once developed and commissioned, Tauhara 2 will generate enough renewable baseload electricity to power a quarter of a million homes.

“The development of the project will represent investment of more than $1 billion and will make an important contribution to a secure and increasingly renewable supply of electricity for New Zealand consumers.”

The recent application is based upon a study of land subsidence in geothermal areas that has been undertaken over the past two years. The company said that a significant amount of work has gone into the development of the Tauhara 2 application, including extensive reservoir modeling and testing, community consultation and assessment of potential impacts.