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Deep water could meet all NZ's energy needsThe drive to run New Zealand on 100 per cent renewable power could get a boost if scientists discover pockets of energy they suspect are buried between 5km and 7km deep.
Geologists think there may be enough scalding hot water locked in underground reservoirs to power more than half the country's homes - if it can be found and tapped.
They have embarked on a four-year project to plumb the country's main geothermal hot-bed, the Taupo Volcanic Zone in the central North Island, to depths twice what existing geothermal drilling projects can reach.
Project leader Greg Bignall of GNS Science said there could be the equivalent of up to 10,000MW of electricity, every year for 100 years, in fissures deeper and hotter than they ones they have tapped.
"We have the potential with conventional geothermal energy to expand to 20 per cent [of New Zealand's electricity] - that is our target," said Mr Bignall.
"If we can go deeper ... there is quite a potential [for more]."