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February 24, 2011

SNC-Lavalin leads joint venture on geothermal project in New Zealand

MONTREAL

SNC-Lavalin is expanding its global presence in the development of alternative energy after a joint venture it leads won a contract to build two geothermal power units in New Zealand.

Contact Energy awarded SNC and partners McConnell Dowell and Parsons Brinkerhoff an engineering, procurement, construction contract to build a 166 megawatt Te Mihi geothermal project, the Canadian engineering company announced Feb. 22.

Two units will be built near the Wairakei geothermal power station, northwest of Taupo.

SNC-Lavalin vice-president Patrick Lamarre said the contract helps to expand its experience in the global renewable energy market.

“Geothermal power is playing an increasingly important role in the industry, and our mandate to execute on this contract is a testament of our ability to successfully deliver complex projects all over the world,” he said.

Taupo is near New Zealand’s largest lake, created thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption. It is located on the North Island, about 310 kilometres north of Wellington.

SNC-Lavalin says it has worked with New Zealand-based Parsons Brinkerhoff before on many projects.

The project’s scope is to receive steam from the geothermal fields at the plant boundaries, but does not involve any underground collection of steam.

“The plant is similar to many other steam plants for power generation projects we have executed before,”Quinton added.

Once the new units are completed, about 45 MW of the existing Wairakei geothermal station will be decommissioned, resulting in a net increase from the combined Te Mihi and Wairakei stations of 114 megawatts.

The additional power is expected to be required by 2013 as economic growth resumes, said Contact Energy’s managing director David Baldwin.

It will also contribute to lowering Contact’s average cost of generation.

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