New Zealand Offshore Wind Project Developers to Map Local Industry Capabilities

The developers of the 1 GW South Taranaki offshore wind project in New Zealand, NZ Super Fund and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), have initiated a study into the future industry requirements needed to support development and operation of a large-scale offshore wind farm.

The Industry Capability Mapping study, jointly funded by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, will be delivered by the the development company Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) and will see a range of Taranaki businesses, community organisations, government, council and iwi taking part.

“The existing oil and gas industry has many transferable skills in structural and electrical engineering, environmental management, marine servicing, surveying, manufacturing and logistics. There will also be a need to develop completely new sectors and skills to support the project”, said COP Senior Business Development Manager Giacomo Caleffi.

“This presents considerable opportunities for existing businesses who are considering how they might transition from extractive industries, and for new businesses to spring up to service the wind farm”.

The study’s kick-off workshop was led by Concept Consulting and brought together experts from the energy sector and other stakeholders.

The next stage will include surveys and interviews with organisations across both Taranaki and New Zealand and will seek to map the actual and projected capabilities required for an offshore wind industry. Local engagement will be supported by Ara Ake, which has been established to lead and facilitate the development of low-emissions energy innovation and technology in New Zealand.

The information and insights collected will then be presented in a detailed report which will be made publicly available in early 2023, the developers said.

The 1 GW offshore wind farm could have around 70 wind turbines, installed some 37 kilometers off the South Taranaki coast.

In June, the developers submitted a pre-activity notice to New Zealand’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to deploy a Floating Light Detection and Ranging device (FLiDAR) at the project site, a few months after they announced the establishment of the partnership and the launch of a 24-month feasibility study.

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An initial planned 1 GW development would represent over 11 per cent of New Zealand’s current electricity demand capacity and could power over 650,000 homes.

The partners believe the project could later expand to 2 GW, helping to meet strong projected growth in demand for electricity in New Zealand.

Initial estimates project that the 1 GW development would create up to 2,000 direct jobs during construction and around 150 direct ongoing jobs.

“We looked at requirements for over 50 jobs that are typically needed on an offshore wind farm. Many of the capabilities to fill these roles are already present in Taranaki or from across the country“, Giacomo Caleffi said.

“However, new training programmes will need to be developed to ensure future generations are offered the opportunity to access these high-value offshore wind jobs when they come to the region”.

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Photo: CIP (Illustration)