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A study into the future industry requirements needed to support development and operation of a large-scale offshore wind farm has begun with a range of Taranaki businesses, community organisations, government, council and iwi and taking part.

The Industry Capability Mapping study is being managed by NZ Super Fund and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) who are jointly exploring the opportunity to develop a 1GW wind farm off the South Taranaki Bight. The study will be delivered by the joint venture’s development arm Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) and is being jointly funded by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

The developers say if the project goes ahead it would represent 11 percent of New Zealand’s current operational electricity generation capacity and could power over 650,000 homes.

“Taranaki is hugely attractive to offshore wind developers. Not only is the wind strong and consistent, the region has many of the associated infrastructure and capability requirements you need to support offshore wind,” says COP Senior Business Development Manager Giacomo Caleffi.

“The existing oil and gas industry has many transferable skills in structural and electrical engineering, environmental management, marine servicing, surveying, manufacturing and logistics. There will also be a need to develop completely new sectors and skills to support the project.”

“This presents considerable opportunities for existing businesses who are considering how they might transition from extractive industries, and for new businesses to spring up to service the wind farm.”

NZ Super Fund and COP say that subject to extensive community consultation, environmental considerations and commercial feasibility, the project would see approximately 70 wind turbines installed between 23 and 30km offshore. Initial estimates project that it would create up to 2,000 direct jobs during construction and around 150 direct ongoing jobs.

The study’s kick off workshop was led by Concept Consulting and brought together experts from the energy sector and other stakeholders.

“We looked at requirements for over 50 jobs that are typically needed on an offshore wind farm. Many of the capabilities to fill these roles are already present in Taranaki or from across the country,” says Mr Caleffi.

“However, new training programmes will need to be developed to ensure future generations are offered the opportunity to access these high-value offshore wind jobs when they come to the region.”

The next stage of the study will include surveys and interviews with organisations across both Taranaki and New Zealand and will seek to map the actual and projected capabilities required for an offshore wind industry. Local engagement will be supported by Ara Ake, which has been established to lead and facilitate the development of low-emissions energy innovation and technology in New Zealand.

The information and insights collected will then be presented in a detailed report which will be made publicly available in early 2023.

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