15 Oct 2013

Iwi group says more geothermal exploitation should be considered

9:30 am on 15 October 2013

A Rotorua iwi group says the Bay of Plenty Regional Council should consider allowing more exploitation of geothermal energy, after signs of life in a geyser that has lain dormant for 34 years.

In the late 1980s, the Government shut down hundreds of geothermal bores around Rotorua after several hot springs ran dry.

GNS Science staff monitoring pools at the Whakarewarewa geothermal field say the Papakura geyser appears to be recovering.

The Whakarewarewa Lands Trust says the council should review the geothermal field and consider opening it to new methods of drilling that extract heat without taking water.

However, GNS volcanologist Brad Scott advocates maintaining the status quo, saying the new drilling techniques are not properly tested.