New Zealand offshore wind project receives development boost from RPS

RPS has announced that it will work with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund) on the first phase of a potential offshore wind farm development off the coast of New Zealand.

CIP and NZ Super Fund joined forces earlier this year to bring offshore wind to South Taranaki and support New Zealand’s renewable energy goals. The consortium has identified a potential site for an offshore wind farm in the South Taranaki Bight.

RPS will use its extensive global offshore wind expertise and in-country knowledge to design the study program, the company said.

We will develop a marine ecology survey program that will include a review of existing data and knowledge of the region to identify potential gaps and species/habitats that may be at risk of impacts from offshore wind development,” said Tamara Al-Hashimiproject manager at RPS.

Al-Hashimi added that RPS will examine the distribution and seasonality of marine mammals, seabirds and shorebirds, fish, invertebrates, and benthic habitats and communities in the proposed project area and surrounding region.

“At this early stage, it is important to work closely with local iwi and key stakeholders. We want to collaborate effectively so that we can design and develop the marine ecology studies needed to undertake environmental assessments and inform the approval of an offshore wind farm, Al-Hashimi said.

In September, CIP and NZ Super Fund launched a study into the future industry requirements needed to support the development and operation of the 1 GW South Taranaki offshore wind project.

The offshore wind farm could have around 70 wind turbines, installed some 37 kilometers off the south coast of Taranaki.

In June, the developers submitted a pre-activity notice to the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to deploy a Floating Detection and Ranging Device (FLiDAR) at the project site.

A planned initial 1GW development would represent more than 11% of New Zealand’s current electricity demand capacity and could power more than 650,000 homes.

The partners believe the project could then expand to 2 GW, helping to meet the projected strong growth in electricity demand in New Zealand.

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