A photo of Parkwind's Northwester 2offshore wind farm in Belgium

Parkwind Teams Up with New Zealand Power Company to Explore Joint Offshore Wind Development

New Zealand power generation company Meridian Energy and Belgian offshore wind developer Parkwind have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) under which they will explore joint development of offshore wind projects in New Zealand, primarily off the Taranaki coast.

In April 2022, the Belgium-based developer revealed that it had appointed a country manager for Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Announcing its first move outside of Europe last year, Parkwind said the company would engage with Iwi, local communities, and other stakeholders on offshore wind development in New Zealand.

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According to a joint press release from Meridian and Parkwind, they will now build on work already undertaken by Parkwind and may decide to work towards a feasibility permit, depending on the outcome of the joint exploration.

The two companies also said that they were both interested in long-term investments and relationships, following a build-to-own-and-operate business model.

“Offshore wind continues to grow overseas and the economics are shifting. As New Zealand’s leading wind farm developer, we feel the time is right to explore how this might add value to our portfolio, and Parkwind is an ideal partner to work with,” said Neal Barclay, Meridian Energy CEO.

In Australia, Parkwind, which was acquired by Japan-headquartered Jera earlier this year, teamed up with Beach Energy and in May this year the two partners announced that they had submitted a joint bid to develop an offshore wind project in the Bass Strait off the coast of Gippsland in Victoria.

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The New Zealand government has committed to developing a regulatory framework for offshore wind and other offshore renewable energy projects by 2024.

In December last year, the authorities said that they started working on setting the policy stage for the build-out of renewable energy projects in the country’s waters. At the same time, the government said it was deferring decisions on future petroleum block offers, with no further petroleum exploration permits to be granted until early in the next Parliamentary term, beyond the process(es) that were already underway.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) held public consultation on proposed approaches to enabling feasibility studies for offshore renewable energy projects until April 2023. In August this year, MBIE opened a new consultation on advancing New Zealand’s energy transition, which includes consultation on proposed regulations to enable offshore renewable energy development.

The consultation launched in August will run until 2 November and is also seeking feedback on New Zealand’s Interim Hydrogen Roadmap, as well as on how to implement the government’s commitment to ban new fossil fuel baseload electricity generation.

The consultation that the government is now holding will inform the New Zealand Energy Strategy which is due to be released in late 2024.

The country’s energy strategy is set to cover the entire energy system and seek to balance the objectives of decarbonising it at pace.

Once the energy strategy is completed, it will help further inform the development of any future guidance on the preferred scale of offshore renewable energy developments.


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