An ambitious target to create 400 jobs attributed to direct use geothermal projects by 2025 will be helped by the development of a new role, aimed at removing barriers and speeding up investment in the geothermal industry.
The government has announced $150,000 funding for the project, to match a further $150,000 from Bay of Connections and industry partners, which means the role can now become a reality.
Bay of Connections chairman Doug Leeder says the combined funding is a significant boost to the work being done on a regional level to grow the Bay of Plenty economy, with geothermal opportunities identified as one of the nine action streams in the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan.
In order to progress these opportunities, the Bay of Connections identified the need for such a role to work with a range of different organisations, including industry, iwi and others, to encourage investment in direct use geothermal opportunities.
Doug says demand for direct use geothermal heat has been limited to date.
“However, the significant potential opportunities provided by geothermal require an increased focus on stimulating demand from industry and firms that use heat as a key component of their operations.”
Direct use geothermal is already used in the area in industries such as timber drying, aquaculture or tourism, horticulture and milk drying.
He adds it is expected the new role will help drive millions of dollars of investment, through projects that will in turn create a significant number of new jobs.
“The target is to have 300 direct and 100 indirect new jobs attributed to direct use geothermal projects by 2025.”
Doug says the funding collaboration shows the value of the partnerships which have been formed through the development of Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan, which is delivered in the region through the Bay of Connections and its supporting partners.
It is expected recruitment for the role will begin immediately.