The consortium formed by BlueFloat Energy, Energy Estate and Elemental Group in 2021 is excited to announce their plans to build an offshore wind farm 22 kilometres off the coast of South Taranaki. The proposed project is the first of four offshore wind projects planned by the consortium in Aotearoa with the potential to add up to 5GW of new clean energy generation.
The South Taranaki project is designed to be a ~900 MW offshore wind development using fixed bottom technology located to the west of Beach Energy’s Kupe platform in the South Taranaki Bight. The proposed site was identified as offering huge potential in the Offshore Wind Discussion Paper published by Venture Taranaki in April 2020, due to the site’s unique characteristics and favourable environmental conditions. That study identified an area large enough for several offshore wind farms to be built by different developers that would be compatible with each other and help accelerate the transition to clean energy.
The South Taranaki region has world-class wind resources and offers several other advantages including:
- Close to the only deep-water port on the west coast, Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, allowing easy access to build, import and transport materials required for construction and to service the specialised vessels required for installation and maintenance
- A relatively flat sea floor with a water depth of less than 50 metres suitable for fixed-bottom turbines
- A skilled and nimble local workforce with extensive experience in the offshore energy sector and transferable expertise
- Significant offshore infrastructure that could potentially be upgraded or repurposed for offshore wind
- Close proximity to local industrial facilities where electricity can be converted to green hydrogen for use in transport fuels or as feedstock for green chemicals like urea, ammonia and methanol
- Further potential for floating wind farms to be developed in subsequent phases alongside the initial phase of fixed bottom projects
The proposed site covers approximately 230 square kilometres and sits beyond the 12-mile nautical zone and outside the boundaries of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary and the sensitive eco-system of the Patea Reef.
Partnerships Director for the JV Justine Gilliland says offshore wind can deliver green energy at scale for Aotearoa for New Zealand’s medium and long-term future but needs to be done in a way that protects diversity and promotes restoration and regeneration of the marine environment:
“Offshore Wind will be an important part of the future energy mix in Aotearoa and will help the country meet its net zero targets. South Taranaki is an obvious choice as it has a best-in-class wind resource and a skilled local workforce with decades of experience working offshore. We are committed to developing the industry sustainably and are already engaging with environmental and local experts to understand how we can mitigate potential risks to marine mammals, seabirds and the coastal environment.”
The consortium is advocating for an all of industry approach, including supply chain and logistics, where developers will collaborate to create an offshore wind industry – not just projects. This will mean working strategically with iwi, government, regulators, Transpower, businesses, and local communities to create an industry that benefits all stakeholders.
In August the JV announced that Beach Energy is facilitating the placement of a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging system) on their Kupe platform and to share the data with several offshore wind developers. The LiDAR measures a number of key data points such as wind speed, direction and consistency that will help inform the JV’s development plans.
Also released today are the visual simulations for the project produced by Plain Concepts, a worldwide technology pioneer in the use of a 3D graphics development engine that realistically creates impressions of how the turbines will look from ten points along the coastline during the day and night. These simulations are available on the project website: https://southtaranakioffshorewindproject.com/
Simon Currie, Co-founder of Energy Estate said:
“We want to be upfront and show coastal communities and users of the sea what our projects will look like. For this reason, we have prioritised preparing and releasing accurate visual simulations of our projects in New Zealand. The process to create the 3D simulation involves the use of panoramic photographs (taken by a local photographer) from a number of locations, trigonometry, data points and digital technology. The output is a realistic and a scientifically rigorous visual representation of an offshore wind project.”
District Mayor, Phil Nixon expressed his support for development of the offshore wind industry in South Taranaki in terms of the benefits it can bring to local economic development, employment and environmentally sustainable, cheaper energy for businesses.
“Offshore wind supports our transition to a lower emissions economy, and with the potential for partnerships with mana whenua and the development of initiatives such as a research and innovation hub will help ensure South Taranaki remains Aotearoa, New Zealand’s (sustainable) energy generator for the future.”
The project is conservatively estimated to create at least 600 jobs in construction, operations and maintenance and to create further employment opportunities throughout the supply chain. The electricity generated from 900 MW is the equivalent of powering nearly 440,000 homes.
Commenting on the announcement, Anne Probert, Venture Taranaki GM Regional Investment said:
“With strategic foresight and through our Taranaki 2050 and Tapuae Roa work, we identified the potential for offshore wind in Taranaki. Leveraging our energy expertise and partnerships, we have been able to catalyse the offshore wind opportunity, releasing the pioneering offshore wind report in 2020, and the subsequent offshore wind energy forums and we are now seeing it move moving closer to realisation. Offshore wind will be a considerable future resource to provide large quantities of low-emissions energy while utilising many of the complementary skills and resources in Taranaki that service the existing energy sector in New Zealand.”
The project is currently in the feasibility stage, but the partnership believes that construction could commence before 2030. The lifecycle for offshore wind farms is around 30 years at which point they would be decommissioned or re-purposed offering decades of meaningful employment opportunities for the region’s workforce.
For more information please visit our website: www.southtaranakioffshorewind.co.nz
If you have any questions, please contact Bianca Ruakere, Offshore Wind Communications Manager on 021 453 189.
Notes to Editors:
The consortium brings together BlueFloat Energy – a leading global offshore wind developer, Energy Estate – a zero emissions independent energy producer and local partners Elemental Group who are headquartered in New Plymouth.
To access a copy of Haumoana: Offshore wind capacity building in New Zealand or the Offshore Wind Discussion Paper published by Venture Taranaki please visit: www.offshorewind.co.nz/reports
About BlueFloat Energy
BlueFloat Energy is developing offshore wind projects in various regions of the world, where it can implement its vision: to accelerate global deployment of offshore wind as a key enabler for the energy transition and economic growth. Founded by renewable energy professionals, BlueFloat Energy brings together remarkable team expertise in the design, development, financing, construction and execution of offshore wind projects.
For more information please visit: http://bluefloat.com
About Energy Estate
Energy Estate’s mission is to accelerate the transformation of the energy sector and the decarbonisation of industry. We are developing and accelerating a portfolio of renewable energy, storage and green hydrogen projects in Australia, NZ, the US and other markets. A key driver for Energy Estate is supporting the communities in which we operate and delivering enduring outcomes for all stakeholders including landowners, workers and indigenous/First Nations people. We believe passionately in the opportunities to revitalise industrial communities through low-carbon solutions and clean industrial precincts.
For more information please visit: http://energyestate.com
About Elemental Group
Elemental Group is an international energy developer and consultancy headquartered in New Plymouth, dedicated to providing better energy outcomes for our clients. We deliver world class solutions for a world in energy transition, ranging from remote Pacific Island communities to major cities. We aim to create enduring benefits for people and place. We are diverse, smart, hard-working and innovative, with services across science, engineering, environment, project management and finance.
For more information please visit: https://elementalgroup.com