New Zealand: Pacific Islands Geothermal

Assessing Geothermal Potential in the Pacific

The report Geothermal Power Potential of Selected Pacific Nations was released by GNS Science in June 2009. The study was based on an initial literature review of 20 Pacific island nations and a subsequent, more detailed review of the following:

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Vanuatu
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • Northern Marianas Islands.

In assessing these countries' geothermal potential, GNS Science considered a number of factors, including geological setting, recent or active volcanism, presence of geothermal features and their flow rates, and interpretation of chemical geothermometry from thermal features.

New Zealand's Geothermal Potential in the Pacific pilot project will assess the potential for geothermal electricity generation in a number of Pacific island nations, including U.S. territories. Sponsored by the New Zealand Ministries of Economic Development; Research, Science and Technology; and Foreign Affairs and Trade, this Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) project will focus on harnessing the potential of geothermal resources to provide base load electricity to Pacific island nations at a fraction of the cost of diesel generation. Diesel currently serves as the main source of electricity for many Pacific islands.

Central to this effort is a study of 20 Pacific island nations conducted by GNS Science, New Zealand's leading earth systems research institute. The data presented in the report will be essential to evaluating the suitability of geothermal to the islands' existing grid infrastructures. For details, read the full report.

Read a case study about the Chatham Islands, a New Zealand territory that was 100% dependent on diesel fuel until it installed two 225 KW wind turbines that now supply nearly half of the islands' energy needs.

Learn more about the renewable energy progress, policies, and goals of New Zealand.