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Offshore Gas Platform to Help Develop Offshore Wind Projects in New Zealand

August 23, 2022

Kupe Platform - Credit: Beach Energy (File Photo)
Kupe Platform - Credit: Beach Energy (File Photo)

Oil and gas company Beach Energy has agreed for Doppler Light Detection and Ranging system (LiDAR) on its Kupe platform, offshore South Taranaki, New Zealand, which will provide data needed for the development of offshore wind farms in the region.

An agreement for this was signed between BlueFloat Energy, Energy Estate and Elemental Group consortium, Beach Energy New Zealand (Beach), and other offshore wind developers. The consortium plans to build four offshore wind farms of 5GW capacity in total.

The LiDAR, to be installed on the Kupe platform, measures a number of key data points that are critical for developers in planning their projects, such as wind speed, direction, and consistency. 

According to Energy Estate, Beach has agreed to share this data with multiple offshore wind developers, reducing the need for duplication, and bringing a new collaborative dimension to this nascent energy sector.

"This initiative will allow us to assess wind resources in South Taranaki and reduce uncertainties for the future development of offshore wind in the region,” said Carlos Martin, Chief Executive Officer of BlueFloat Energy on a recent trip to New Zealand.

"It opens the door for a new spirit of collaboration where we can discuss the potential for shared infrastructure, transmission corridors and offshore transmission networks. 

“Our consortium is interested in creating an inclusive offshore wind energy industry – not just projects. This means directly contributing to the community and the local economy, generating jobs, skills and training and opportunities across the supply chain. We appreciate Beach demonstrating leadership in this area, and we are optimistic there is a bright future for the industry in Taranaki,” added Martin.

First offshore wind turbines in water by decade end

The consortium has said it has spent the last two years studying the feasibility of offshore wind and engaging with key stakeholders and is "confident that Aotearoa [Māori-language name for New Zealand] offers great potential for offshore wind energy."

Subject to the regulatory framework being in place and obtaining all necessary approvals, the first turbines are expected in the water before the end of the decade.



“New Zealand is blessed with world-class offshore wind resources and the potential to develop the offshore wind industry here is enormous,” said Energy Estate Co-founder Simon Currie presenting at the New Zealand Wind Energy Wānanga on delivering enduring benefits from offshore wind.

"Having met with Government, businesses, mana whenua, and industry I feel very confident that there is a genuine need and desire to develop the industry here in a way that benefits the whole community,” added Currie.

“The advantage of creating an offshore wind energy sector here in New Zealand is clear,” says Elemental Group Director Nick Jackson. “Offshore wind energy can provide a clean source of renewable energy to power businesses and homes throughout the country. It will be instrumental in helping New Zealand meet its net zero commitments and will provide considerable investment in new jobs, training, and skills development. Following on from our report Haumoana: Offshore Wind Capacity Building in New Zealand released last year, we view this collaboration as a continuation of necessary whole of industry development initiatives.”

Four offshore wind projects of 5GW capacity in total

The consortium unveiled Tuesday at the 2022 Wind Energy Association Wānanga its plans to develop four offshore wind projects across Aotearoa in Taranaki, Southland, and Waikato with the potential to generate up to 5GW of power.

The consortium said it believed that offshore wind energy can help achieve 600% renewable energy in Aotearoa and will complement other renewable energies like hydro, onshore wind, solar and geothermal, opening up possibilities for new businesses like green hydrogen, e-fuels and innovations to decarbonize industrial processes.

Justine Gilliland, Partnerships Director for the consortium said: “We have an incredible opportunity in front of us to develop a new, value-adding industry with offshore wind energy.  Our consortium is committed to living by our development principles. We are focused on meaningful engagement and collaboration with Iwi and key stakeholders including unions, industry, training providers and communities on projects that deliver sustainable growth and enduring benefits to our host communities."



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