Parkwind’s First Move Outside Europe Made Down Under

Parkwind is entering the offshore wind market in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, and has made its first move outside of Europe by naming a country manager in the two countries.

The Belgium-based offshore wind developer, which says its move reflects the high potential in the region, has appointed Peter Lars Spencer as country manager for New Zealand and Australia.

“As New Zealand’s government sets to establish a regulatory framework for Offshore Wind Development, we look forward to engaging with Iwi, local communities, and other stakeholders to achieve inclusive developments delivering best outcomes for all”, the company said.

Parkwind’s current portfolio includes four operational offshore wind farms off the Belgian coast with a combined capacity of 771 MW: Belwind, Northwind, Nobelwind, and Northwester 2.

The company is also building the 257 MW Arcadis Ost 1 offshore wind farm in Germany, which is scheduled to be put into operation in 2023, and is behind the 375 MW Oriel offshore wind project in Ireland, which is planned to be commissioned in 2026.

With work on getting offshore wind development off the ground now underway by the governments of the two countries, several new project plans have emerged after the first offshore wind farm proposal in Australia, Star of the South, and over the past year.

Last month, Danish Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) announced that it was working in partnership with NZ Super Fund to explore the potential for large-scale offshore wind energy in the South Taranaki Bight offshore New Zealand.

In November 2021, Spanish floating wind developer BlueFloat Energy said that it was partnering with Energy Estate and Elemental Group to develop offshore wind farms in the country, with BlueFloat Energy and Energy Estate also having plans to develop offshore wind projects in Australia.

A company founded by two of the co-founders of the Star of the South, Australia’s first proposed offshore wind farm, is also planning to build three offshore wind projects in New Zealand and five more in Australia.

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Australian Government is currently working on setting up regulations for the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (OEI) framework, which will enable the development of offshore electricity infrastructure, including offshore wind and electricity transmission projects, in Commonwealth waters. 

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At the beginning of this month, the Government said it identified the Bass Strait off Gippsland, the area where the Star of the South project is planned to be built, as the country’s first priority area to be assessed for suitability for offshore wind developments.

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Photo: Illustration; Northwester 2 offshore wind farm; Photo: Parkwind