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O’Donnell Griffin completes alternative energy projects safely - on time and on budget


Electrical and communications engineering specialist O’Donnell Griffin recently completed two electrical installation projects at geothermal power stations in New Zealand, finishing both jobs on time, on budget and with zero lost time injuries.

Geothermal energy is created by harnessing volcanic heat from beneath the ground. It is considered sustainable because any projected heat extraction is small compared to the Earth's heat content. Geothermal power is particularly suited to New Zealand, since the country sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a 40,000-kilometre-long, horseshoe-shaped chain of volcanic arcs and belts.

Ormat Pacific, an Israeli company specialising in the development of geothermal plants for projects around the world, commissioned O’Donnell Griffin for two projects in the New Zealand region to install the high voltage power systems, low voltage controls, instrumentation and electrical services on site.


The first site was the Kawerau Geothermal Power Station, a 9.4 megawatt geothermal plant with a 11kv/400 volt power system.


The Kawerau Geothermal Power Station is particularly important as it supplies power directly to Norske Skog Paper Mill and CHH Tasman Pulp Mill, reducing their need to use power from the country’s main grid.


The second geothermal plant, Te Huka, is located at Taupo, about 80 kilometres south of Rotorua. It delivers 23 megawatts to the national grid and is the first power station to be built on the Tauhara geothermal steam field.


Ormat Pacific’s Project Manager, Peter Nielsen, said O’Donnell Griffin demonstrated technical competence and an ability to get the project completed on time. With just eight months between installation and commissioning, timeliness was crucial. To help the process run smoothly, O’Donnell Griffin allocated a senior technician who had been involved with the control and instrumentation works to liaise with Ormat during the commissioning phase.


“O’Donnell Griffin’s commitment to working with Ormat to complete the Te Huka Power Station in the timeframe given, and then assisting with commissioning, was a credit to the staff and organisation,” Peter said.


O’Donnell Griffin’s Operations Manager, New Zealand, Peter Jackson said, “Commissioning was coordinated with Ormat’s engineers and the station was successfully synchronised to the network on schedule.”



As with all projects undertaken by O’Donnell Griffin, safety was paramount.

“We had to follow site-specific requirements to comply with Contact Energy and Ormat Health and Safety regulations, in line with our own OH&S program,” said Peter. “Te Huka was the second power station we have worked on with Ormat Pacific and we hope to do many more.” 


For further information please contact:

John McCarl
Marketing and Communications Manager
O’Donnell Griffin
Tel (+61) 2 99331039

O’Donnell Griffin

O’Donnell Griffin is a leading electrical and communications engineering solutions provider. We help our customers design, build and maintain ‘mission critical’ infrastructure, such as:

• Railway signalling and overhead wiring systems;
• Power generation, transmission, & distribution systems;
• High voltage reticulation, switchboards, and process control instrumentation;
• Data and telecommunications networks; and
• Fire detection and suppression systems.
Our largest customers operate in the Rail, Power, Resources, Water, Commercial and Telecommunications sectors. We were founded in 1906 in Sydney, and today we operate from 25 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand, with revenue in excess of $575 million and 1,500 employees.

O’Donnell Griffin is a member of Norfolk Group (ASX: NFK), a leading international provider of integrated building and engineering services.

For further information on O’Donnell Griffin, please visit

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