Contact Energy has welcomed the Government's decision to fast-track hearings on resource consents for its 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 it is important that major generation projects get consents and are built 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.
The first stage of the Tauhara power plant is close to completion.