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New Zealand: Taranaki region offshore wind-rich

A regional development agency from Taranaki, New Zealand, has published a paper on offshore wind possibilities in the region. According to the paper, the areas off Taranaki coast have promising offshore wind potential.

The development agency Venture Taranaki has called for further investigation of the offshore wind resource.

Offshore Wind – An Energy Opportunity for Taranaki highlights the waters off South Taranaki as having an especially strong wind resource. The area is also suitable for offshore wind from a bathymetric perspective, according to the paper.

Venture Taranaki and Elemental Group, which also worked on the report, have looked at both bottom-fixed and floating wind turbines. Furthermore, they explored two development scenarios: a 200 MW project and an 800 MW project using 7-8 MW turbines. 

“The two scenarios were explored for both South Taranaki and North Taranaki waters, and showed that they would occupy around 30km2 and 120km2 respectively with turbines spaced approximately 1km apart”, said Andrew Revfeim of Elemental Group.

The paper pinpointed areas potentially suitable for bottom-fixed offshore wind off the south and north coasts of Taranaki. A 1,800 square-kilometre area off South Taranaki could accommodate up to 12 GW. The waters off North Taranaki could host 2.4 GW at a 370 square-kilometre area.

When it comes to floating wind, the paper identifies a further area of 14,000 square kilometres off Taranaki as suitable. This area holds the potential to deliver an additional 90 GW through floating wind.

The paper also discusses both opportunities and hurdles in making offshore wind a reality for New Zealand. These include the infrastructure and processes required, consumer demand and economics, the technologies involved, international developments, and a broad range of social, environmental, regulatory and other considerations.

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