New Zealand has 7 GW of potential sites for bottom-fixed offshore wind and almost unlimited potential for floating wind, according to a recent forum
The industry forum heard the New Zealand Government foresees possible capacity of about 1 GW in the initial phase of an electricity demand increase, a figure that does not account for demand from green hydrogen.
In the long-term, the forum heard, it could be possible to install 11 GW of offshore wind capacity in New Zealand by 2060.
Independent Power NZ general manager Jarek Pole told OWJ that the government in New Zealand is targeting 100% renewable energy by 2030 and wants to be a carbon zero country by 2050. There is also a significant push from the government for green hydrogen and other green chemicals.
Mr Pole said electricity demand in New Zealand is also expected to rise by at least 68% by 2050, and new power generation will be needed to decarbonise the economy.
Reporting on the event, Mr Pole said a legal framework for offshore wind does not yet exist in New Zealand. “Developers rely on the oil and gas exploration framework at present,” he said. “New legislation is not yet in the work programme of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but it is open to the technology.
“If demand from market players and more clarity about ways to reduce costs are there, they will consider creating legislation,” Mr Pole said, noting that New Zealand legislation “may end up as ‘adopted copy’ of new Australian legislation on offshore wind, which is due to be announced in mid-2021.
“As of today, there is no support system in place yet or proper framework for the development of exclusivity rights,” Mr Pole explained. “Infrastructure is partially in place as high voltage lines going through Taranaki already allow transmission of power to other parts of the country. At present, the Taranaki region could take about 600 MW,” Mr Pole noted. “Larger project would need upgrades of connection infrastructure, which is possible in the future.”
Mr Pole said attendance at the first New Zealand Offshore Wind Forum was well above the expectations of the Regional Development Agency - Venture Taranaki, which organised it.
Among the stakeholders participating were Transpower, the national grid operator, the Ministry of Business, central and local consenting bodies, Port Taranaki, local Iwis, the New Zealand Wind Energy Association and a large number of businesses.
“The Minister of Energy and Innovation, Hon Dr Megan Woods, participated with her views on offshore wind. I was very positively surprised with how much the central government already knew about the topic,” Mr Pole concluded.