A joint venture (JV) between BlueFloat Energy, Energy Estate, and Elemental Group have announced its plans to develop up to 1.4 GW Waikato offshore wind project in South Auckland and West Waikato, Aotearoa, New Zealand.
The project is intended to be developed in phases to generate a capacity of up to 1.4 GW of power using both fixed and floating foundation technology and capable of powering around 700,000 homes.
Phase 1 of the project is for a ~250 MW development using bottom-fixed technology 22 kilometres off the West Waikato coast.
Options for Phase 2 utilise floating foundations and include the potential for an 800-1,150 MW development located to the west or north of Phase 1.
The consortium has completed its initial site selection and the project is now in the feasibility stage with construction expected to commence before the end of the decade.
The initial phase of the Waikato offshore wind project would create around 300 jobs in construction, operations, and maintenance while Phase 2 will create an additional 800 jobs with the potential for more dependent on the size of the project.
“An offshore wind energy industry will provide thousands of jobs for New Zealanders and require an entire local supply chain to support it throughout its lifetime. This is particularly true with floating wind developments which require significantly higher local content in manufacturing and services in addition to the expected operations and maintenance roles”, said Nick Jackson, Elemental Director.
The partnership has been engaging with iwi and key stakeholders to determine the feasibility of offshore wind projects in New Zealand.
According to the JV, the partners are committed to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are engaging in ongoing discussions with iwi and hapū in South Auckland and Waikato about potential partnership models, including co-design.
The Waikato offshore wind project is the second investment to be announced by the partnership in New Zealand as part of a nation-wide programme to develop up to 5 GW of offshore wind.
At the beginning of this month, the partnership revealed another offshore wind project, named South Taranaki, off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
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 ecosystem of the Patea Reef.
The construction activities on the 900 MW project are expected to begin before 2030.
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