Top Energy was established in 1993 when the business activities of the Bay of Islands Electric Power Board were transferred to the Company, as a result of the New Zealand Government’s deregulation of the electricity sector. The shares in the Company are held by the Top Energy Consumer Trust, on behalf of the electricity consumers of the Far North.
Top Energy is a progressive and technically driven company with interests in electricity generation through its geothermal power plant, transmission and distribution lines network, and electrical reticulation contracting.
Top Energy is a pillar of the Far North community managing more than $500m in assets and employing over 150 people. As one of the largest businesses in the region, Top Energy is uniquely placed to act as a catalyst to develop economic potential in the Far North.
Top Energy Network Business
Our lines network comprises about 4,500 kilometres of power lines and cables. We cover about 6,822 square kilometers of the northernmost area of New Zealand encompassing some fairly rugged, sparsely populated terrain. Our lines, especially those in remote areas, are constantly under threat by fast-growing vegetation which blows onto lines causing power outages. Having invested significantly over the past 10 years in security and reliability improvements, the published Asset Management Plan is the core planning and operations document that guides the management of our network and details inspection, maintenance, and capital replacement strategies over the next 10 years.
Our network assets are worth more than $260m, the 12th largest in the country and distribute electricity to over 32,000 consumers.
Ngawha Generation Geothermal Power Station
A pilot plant with 2 x 5MW stations was commissioned in 1998, based on new Ormat binary technology. In 2008, due to the success of the pilot, we expanded with the largest unit available, a further 15MW. Following a number of years of feasibility studies, business cases and resource consent applications, a 31.5MW expansion was approved with commissioning planned for late 2020. At 56MW, Ngawha provides renewable electricity for the Far North and will export into the national grid over 95% of the time. There are more geothermal generation opportunities already consented for the future.
The Ngawha Geothermal Field is the only high-temperature geothermal resource in New Zealand outside the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The reservoir is about 600 metres below ground and is thought to be between 20 and 40 square kilometres in area, with temperatures reaching temperatures up to 230 degrees Celcius. Using leading-edge technology, geothermal fluids are brought to the surface and passed through a heat exchanger where energy (heat) is transferred to a working fluid (pentane). The pentane then boils creating a high-pressure vapour which drives the turbines, turning the generator.
Contracting operates from purpose-built depots in Kaitaia and the Bay of Islands. We employ over 80 staff including qualified technicians, line mechanics and electricians who provide the expertise to operate and maintain the network infrastructure. Contracting also provides a wide range of electrical reticulation services to external clients such as local authorities, infrastructure owners and developers subdividing their property.
Community Sponsorship & Schools
We are proud that, as part of our continued community support, we fund the following business and community sponsorships: