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MBIE and Energy Minister Megan Woods’s call for the public to comment on how the development of offshore renewable energy infrastructure, including wind farms, should proceed has been welcomed by a joint venture that is already working to establish an investment case for a 1GW offshore wind farm off the South Taranaki Bight.

Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) is a leading and experienced provider of project development, construction management, and operational management services to offshore wind projects and is leading the feasibility work for the joint venture between the NZ Super Fund and investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

COP Senior Business Development Manager Giacomo Caleffi said last week’s announcement by Minister Woods validated the work the joint venture has already done to assess the project’s overall feasibility.

“As well as assessing technical considerations such as wind resource, environmental baselines, and energy market conditions, we have also evaluated industry capabilities already available in Taranaki that could be applied to an offshore wind project and set up a technical working group to discuss environmental monitoring requirements,” Mr Caleffi said.

The joint venture will also be deploying a floating LiDAR (wind measurement device) off the South Taranaki coast and has joined a consortium with other two developers to install a fixed LiDAR on Beach Energy’s Kupe gas platform in the new year.

Mr Caleffi said the joint venture has begun conversations with representatives of iwi, local government, and other communities with a particular interest in the proposed development – and this work would continue in the New Year.

“Building understanding and support among the communities in which we are operating is essential, and getting the public’s view of how a regulatory system should be set up is an important part of that,” said Mr Caleffi.

“Any investor needs certainty in order to commit. That means a regulatory system that is fit for purpose for the long-term – and the only way to get such a system is to involve the whole community in the design process,” said Mr Caleffi.

Mr Caleffi said the April deadline for submissions struck a good balance between giving everyone who wanted to submit the opportunity to do so and allowing potential developers to get on with the job.

“It is encouraging to see the Minister and her officials working at pace to set up the structure and systems we need in order to plan ahead with confidence.”