(Taupo, New Zealand) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus met with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand today to promote Montana partnerships. Baucus also toured a successful geothermal plant owned and operated by New Zealand's indigenous Maori tribe.
"So many of the successful deals we've helped make possible for Montanans and Montana companies over the years have started just like today's meetings - with a handshake and a conversation," Baucus said. "I'm here to look for opportunities for Montana-- and I'll be bringing the connections we made and the lessons we learned home to turn them into Montana jobs down the road."
The American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand is a non-profit organization made up of mostly New Zealand-based businesses across all sectors- from agriculture to manufacturing to high-tech industries. Its mission is to promote trade between the United States, New Zealand and the broader Asia-Pacific region.
The Mokai power plant Baucus toured highlights the abundant energy resources both Montana and New Zealand enjoy. Baucus used the tour to learn ways New Zealand's government and indigenous people have worked together to successfully promote energy production and jobs.
Tuaropaki Trust, managed by the Maori people, owns 75 percent of the Mokai plant. The additional 25 percent of The Mokai plant is owned by Mighty River Power, a state-owned electricity company.
Mokai uses geothermal activity to heat water to 572 degrees, and produce steam that turns electric turbines. The Plant was built in 2000 and expanded in 2002. Total capacity of the Mokai Power Plant is now 110 Megawatts.