Plans for 5GW of offshore wind deployment off New Zealand stepped up another gear as an international consortium announced a second huge project this month.

A group comprising global offshore wind player BlueFloat Energy and regional developers Energy Estate and Elemental Group unveiled plans for a 1.4GW hybrid fixed-foundation and floating project off South Auckland and West Waikato (see map at foot).

The partners have started feasibility studies at the site with a view to construction beginning by 2030 of a 250MW fixed-bottom first phase 22km off West Waikato, kicking off a “multi-billion dollar development” they claimed would provide “decades of enduring employment opportunities and a secure supply of renewable generation” to the region.

The plan comes 10 days after the consortium said it hopes to build a 900MW fixed project off South Taranaki.

The BlueFloat-Energy Estate-Elemental group aims to develop 5GW of offshore wind across four projects off New Zealand, which is following neighbouring Australia in making the technology a big part of its renewables and energy transition plans.

BlueFloat CEO Carlos Martin said: “Overbuilding of renewables capacity and increasing energy storage was recently described by energy minister Megan Woods as ‘mission critical’ and we are keen to support the government in achieving their energy ambitions.

“We welcome the announcement of a regulatory framework for offshore wind by mid-2024 and are pleased this is a key focus for the government.”

Elemental director Nick Jackson added: “An offshore wind energy industry will provide thousands of jobs for New Zealanders and require an entire local supply chain to support it throughout its lifetime.

“This is particularly true with floating wind developments which require significantly higher local content in manufacturing and services in addition to the expected operations and maintenance roles.”

When they forged their partnership last year the partners cited previous studies that estimate at 90GW the potential for wind off the Taranaki region of New Zealand alone.

Other developers eying floating wind in the deep waters off New Zealand include Australia-based Oceanex Energy.

The site of the planned project. Photo: BlueFloat Energy