Mighty River Power

Mighty River Power
Mighty River Power
Type State owned
Industry Electric power generation
Predecessor Electricity Corporation of New Zealand
Founded 1 April 1999 (1999-04-01)
Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand
Key people Doug Heffernan (CEO)
Products Electric power
Services Electricity retailing
Revenue increase NZ$1,163,881,000[1]
Operating income increase NZ$257,246,000[1]
Net income increase NZ$127,073,000[1]
Total assets NZ$5,376,587,000[1]
Total equity NZ$2,906,542,000[1]
Owner(s) New Zealand Government
Subsidiaries Mercury Energy (retail)
Metrix (metering)
Website mightyriverpower.co.nz

Mighty River Power Limited is a New Zealand electricity generation and electricity retailing company. It was formed from the breakup of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in 1999 as a result one of the reforms of the New Zealand Electricity Market and corporatised to become a state-owned enterprise with its own board of directors and Ministerial shareholders. The shareholders are the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State Owned Enterprises.

The company owns and operates the hydroelectric generating stations on the Waikato River as well as geothermal plants in the Taupo area, the combined cycle Southdown plant in south Auckland and the largely unused plant (Marsden A and Marsden B) at Marsden Point near Whangarei.

In 2008, Mighty River Power produced 16% of the country's electricity.[2] According to its own website, the company supplies 22% of New Zealand peak energy demand, with about 80% of this coming from hydro-power.[3]



Mighty River Power was established on 1 April 1999, when the 1998 reform of the electricity sector took effect. The Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) was broken up into three state-owned generating companies - Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy. Mighty River Power took over the ownership and operation of the eight hydroelectric power stations on the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest, and also inherited the assets of two largely decommissioned oil-fired power stations at Marsden Point, near Whangarei.

In addition, the 1998 reforms forced the separation between lines (transmission and distribution) and supply (generation and retailing). On 1 April 1999, Mercury Energy, then the major lines and supply company for Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, was split between lines and supply. Mighty River Power inherited Mercury Energy's retail base and its share in the Southdown Power Station (in conjunction with the Natural Gas Corporation). Mercury Energy then became the name of Mighty River's retail business, and the sub-transmission and distribution business of Mercury Energy was renamed Vector.

In 2000, Mighty River purchased into the Rotokawa geothermal power station, to operate and maintain the station, and own the geothermal turbines in a joint venture with the Tauhara North No.2 Trust. Also that year, Mighty River Power commissioned the Mokai geothermal power station in a joint venture with the Tuaropaki Trust. One aspect that sets Mighty River Power apart from other geothermal generators is that it works in partnership with Māori landowners (the tāngata whenua) to benefit both Mighty River power and the tāngata whenua.[4]

In September 2002, Mighty River gained 100 percent ownership of the Southdown power station.

In 2004, Mighty River announce plans to refurbish the Marsden B plant to fire it on coal to increase supply security north of Auckland. Marsden B had been mothballed since it was completed in 1978 due to rising oil prices following the 1973 oil crisis and there being cheaper alternatives available. Greenpeace staged a nine-day occupation of the site in 2005, and after the Northland Regional Council granted consent, appealed to both the Environment Court and High Court, eventually overturning the consent. Mighty River appealed the High Court decision to the Court of Appeal, but in March 2007 dropped the proposal.

In 2008, Mighty River increased its generating capacity by opening the 100 MW Kawerau geothermal power station, increasing supply security to the eastern Bay of Plenty, a large timber processing area. In 2010, it opened the 140 MW Nga Awa Purua geothermal station near Taupo, complete with the largest single-shaft geothermal turbine in the world, further increasing its geothermal generation.

Power Stations

Mighty River Power operates 13 power stations, all in Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty. In total, the company has 1638 MW of generating capacity - composed of 1078 MW hydroelectric, 385 MW geothermal, and 175 MW natural gas.

Name Type Location Capacity
Annual generation
(average GWh)[5]
Commissioned Notes
Arapuni Hydroelectric Waikato River 196.7 805 1946
Aratiatia Hydroelectric Waikato River 78 330 1964
Atiamuri Hydroelectric Waikato River 84 289 1962
Karapiro Hydroelectric Waikato River 96 490 1948
Kawerau Geothermal Kawerau, Bay of Plenty 100 800 2008
Maraetai Hydroelectric Waikato River 360 885 1954, 1971
Mokai Geothermal northwest of Taupo 112 900 2000 Joint venture with Tuaropaki Trust
Nga Awa Purua Geothermal north of Taupo 140 1100 2010 Joint venture with Tauhara North No.2 Trust
World's largest geothermal turbine (147 MW rated)
Ohakuri Hydroelectric Waikato River 112 400 1962
Rotokawa Geothermal north of Taupo 33 210 1997 Joint venture with Tauhara North No.2 Trust
Southdown Gas CCGT cogeneration Southdown, Auckland 175 850 1998
Waipapa Hydroelectric Waikato River 51 242 1961
Whakamaru Hydroelectric Waikato River 100 494 1956

Generation developments

Name Type Location Planned
capacity (MW)
Ngatamariki Geothermal north of Taupo 100 consents granted
Puketoi Wind Puketoi Ranges consent application lodged[6]
Turitea Wind south-east of Palmerston North 180 consents approved


In addition to its generation assets, Mighty River Power also incorporates or has major shareholdings in:

  • Mercury Energy, an electricity and gas retailer
  • Metrix, a metering and meter-reading business
  • Tiny Mighty Power,[7] an electricity retailer


Mighty River Power is a founding shareholder in GeoGlobal Energy LLC, which is actively exploring and developing geothermal areas in USA, Chile and Germany.[8]

See also


External links

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