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Te Mihi Geothermal Power Station

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The McConnell Dowell, SNC Lavalin, and Parsons Brinckerhoff JV was awarded the EPC contract for the 166 MW Te Mihi Geothermal Power Station in January 2011. Te Mihi is one of two new geothermal power stations planned for the Taupo region and will replace the 50 year old Wairakei Power Station – the world’ second largest power station. Two units of 83 MW each will be supplied to the consortium by Toshiba International Corporation.

The Challenge

An EPC contract is complex and there is limited experience of this contract type in New Zealand. To meet Contact Energy’s requirement for sourcing a delivery team with EPC experience, we secured a strong JV team with indisputable international expertise in applying the EPC model to construct power plants.
Requiring 450 staff at peak construction, the project team is delivering the works on an isolated 18 hectare greenfield site in difficult geotechnical (geothermal) conditions and under strict environmental and health and safety regulations.

The first turbine table was poured in April 2012, a culmination of four months intensive design, planning, temporary works and construction. The table supports the steam turbines and generator for Unit 1. The condenser unit for Turbine Hall 1 arrived at the Port of Tauranga and took more than 36 hours to unload from ship due to its large size.

The Solution

A 1.5 hectare materials and equipment laydown has been constructed on-site to receive, store and distribute procured items during the construction period. This area is a designated MAF receiving zone under JV supervision and is fully security fenced and floodlit with controlled access using a “Cardex” swipe system. Full quality control and assurance has been established on-site, within New Zealand, and overseas for the manufacture, procurement and receipt of over NZ$165M worth of permanent plant and equipment.

The earthworks design has achieved an almost zero “cut to fill” balance. Both bored and drive piles have been used to maximise structural capacities within the various soil conditions thus minimising costs. A specialist concrete mix using local materials for use in the geothermal ground conditions has been developed in conjunction with the supplier (Firth) and the JV.

Key to Success

A strong team experienced in EPC management has developed fit-for-purpose solutions to meet the specific challenges of this site.

  • Client:        Contact Energy
  • Location:    Taupo
  • Contract:    EPC
  • Value:        $500M
  • Currency:    Ongoing