New Zealand and Japan’s Commitment to Geothermal Energy.

Simon Bridges, Energy and Resources Minister, says a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed yesterday will strengthen the strategic partnership in renewable energy research and development between New Zealand and Japan. During his visit to Tokyo this week, Bridges witnessed the signing of the MOU, between New Zealand’s GNS Science and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC). The MOU establishes the basis for cooperation in geothermal energy. “Globally, geothermal energy is experiencing a renaissance, and I’m pleased that our two countries can share their pioneering experience – characterized by innovative, sustainable and respectful management of geothermal resources.” The agreement includes technical cooperation in the evaluation and mitigation of environmental impacts of geothermal energy development, development of survey methodologies over large spatial areas and methods for sustainable management of geothermal reservoirs. “At nearly 80%, New Zealand’s share of renewable electricity generation in 2014 was the fourth highest in the world. Geothermal generation has more than doubled over the past decade and is a true New Zealand success story,” Bridges says. “Our renewable advantage in New Zealand, including the continuing growth of world –class geothermal energy, presents real opportunities to leverage our expertise and experience overseas for economic advantage.” Bridges also witnessed the signing of an MOU between GNS Science and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), which will enable closer collaboration in the field of marine science and technology.   Find more information at:...

Stewart Island Gusts Destroyed Solar Research Gear.

Wind gusts estimated at 140 kmh have destroyed a $20,000 solar-powered monitoring station on Stewart Island. The winds flipped the sturdy steel frame which held seven large solar panels, Southland District Council services and assets group manager Ian Marshall said. ”It was lifted up and turned over … We’ve been left with a pile of twisted metal.” The inverter, the unit that converts direct current into mains electricity suitable for the Stewart Island grid, was also damaged. The monitoring station was next to the island’s sewage treatment ponds, on a rise about 2km from the township of Oban. ”It is a somewhat exposed site, but we weren’t expecting anything like this. The station has been totally destroyed.” The council operates the Stewart Island Electrical Supply Authority (Siesa), which supplies about 410 consumers from five diesel generators. However, that is expensive, with consumers paying at least twice as much per kWh as mainland New Zealand users, and the council is trialling hydro, wind and solar alternatives. Monitoring sites for each option have been operating since about March, with Robin McNeill, from Southland’s economic development agency Venture Southland, overseeing them. He said yesterday he was very surprised at the damage, as the frame was sturdy and well anchored. He and Mr Marshall both said they would like to see the station replaced if possible, as so far only about three months of usable data had been retrieved and they wanted 12 months of data. According to Mr McNeill, the University of Canterbury researchers had been analyzing results and he would ask them whether, based on collected data, they thought the station was...