Contact Energy has welcomed the Government's decision to fast track hearings into resource consents for the energy company's planned $1 billion Tauhara geothermal power station near Taupo.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says the 250 megawatt power plant is of national significance, and it will be heard by an independent Board of Inquiry headed by Environment Judge Gordon Whiting.
Contact says its important major generation projects can be consented and constructed quickly, if New Zealand wants to increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources.
Under the Environment Protection Authority's new rules, a decision must be made within nine months, or about the end of the year.
The first stage of the power plant is close to completion.
Contact Energy's share price closed down 1 cent, to $6.10.