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Study identifies significant offshore wind potential off the western coast of New Zealand’s North Island


Taranaki regional development agency, Venture Taranaki has released a discussion paper today which highlights offshore wind as a substantial opportunity for the region and one that should be explored further.

The paper titled, Offshore Wind – An Energy Opportunity for Taranaki, identifies locations off the Taranaki coastline which offer a promising potential for generating electricity from offshore wind, a technology which is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world but is yet to gain traction in New Zealand.

Hiringa Energy is a supporter of offshore wind power as it presents a reliable, low impact solution to delivering the utility scale renewable power that New Zealand will need to meet its carbon abatement obligations. The paper determined that there is the potential to almost double New Zealand’s current power supply using wind from offshore Taranaki alone.

Hiringa has been following the development of offshore wind technology for some time and is encouraged by both the large global offshore power generation base that now exists and the rapid reduction in equipment costs as vendors continue turning out larger more efficient turbines. “Offshore wind energy generation is a proven technology being rapidly developed and harnessed internationally, while at the same time costs are reducing significantly.” says Andrew Revfeim of Elemental Group.

Large variable renewable power generation of the scale outlined in the Venture Taranaki paper (200MW-800MW) would lend itself to flexible large-scale green hydrogen production in conjunction with electricity generation firming for the grid. This hydrogen can be used as zero emission fuel for heavy transport fleets such as trucks, buses, rail and ferries, or as feedstock in making industrial chemicals such as green Methanol or Ammonia. Hiringa are already planning to produce green ammonia using onshore wind power as part of a joint venture partnership with Ballance Agri-Nutrients at Kapuni, the project recently being supported with $19.9m from the government PGF fund.

Hiringa Energy CEO, Andrew Clennett, says, “We welcome the publishing of this study that helps highlight the significant wind resource we have right here in Taranaki. We see tremendous potential to develop this resource for our domestic energy needs, allowing material transition of our industrial processes and transport to run on renewable electricity and green hydrogen.”

“A wind resource of this scale, in such close proximity to existing energy infrastructure, export facilities and a skilled workforce also lends itself to the export market and would position New Zealand in a commanding position to produce and export green hydrogen in the form of green ammonia, methanol or pure hydrogen to countries such as Japan and South Korea who are both openly looking to green hydrogen to move them into a low emissions future.”

Venture Taranaki chief executive Justine Gilliland says “Offshore wind generation is a technology already in effect internationally, but which hasn’t been fully explored in a New Zealand context. This discussion paper offers a first step in that process and supports the Energy Pathway Action Plan for Taranaki’s 2050 Roadmap.” The paper also highlights the synergies which an offshore wind power industry would have with Taranaki’s existing experience in the offshore marine engineering environment making it a natural fit as the current workforce transitions from conventional offshore oil and gas.

Hiringa Energy commends Justine and Venture Taranaki for their vision and initiative in commissioning the study and consider this to be a significant step in unlocking low cost renewable power for New Zealand. 

KeyFacts Energy: Renewable Energy news   l   KeyFacts Energy Industry Directory: Hiringa Energy

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