New Zealand

New Zealand

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners plans 1GW offshore wind farm off New Zealand

Developer plans to assess project feasibility for a large-scale wind farm off the coast of New Zealand's north island

CIP plans to build an initial 1GW wind farm in the South Taranaki Bight (pic credit: Phillip Capper/Wikimedia Commons)
CIP plans to build an initial 1GW wind farm in the South Taranaki Bight (pic credit: Phillip Capper/Wikimedia Commons)

Government-backed NZ Super Fund and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) are working in partnership to explore the potential for a large-scale offshore wind project off the north island of New Zealand.

A joint company will manage the feasibility study and development, starting with wind resource measurement in the South Taranaki Bight and designing detailed environmental impact assessments.

The planned 1000MW South Taranaki South Taranaki (1000MW) OffshoreSouth Taranaki Bight, New Zealand, Asia-Pacific Click to see full details project off the south-west of New Zealand’s north island could be the country’s first offshore wind farm. It could later be expanded to 2GW. 

Project feasibility is being managed locally by project developer Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP). The feasibility work is expected to take approximately 24 months. Should the project proceed as planned, commissioning is expected by the end of the decade.

The project would be CIP’s first investment in New Zealand, following NZ Super Fund’s NZD 208 million ($143 million) commitment to CIP’s new Energy Transition Fund (CI ETF I) last year.

CIP partner Michael Hannibal said New Zealand enjoys high average wind speeds and relatively shallow waters close to transmission infrastructure. He added that the Taranaki region has the skills and know-how for offshore wind.

Developing the South Taranaki project will require the support of key stakeholders including local communities, businesses and experts, CIP stated. The partners will also focus on ensuring coexistence with other uses of the marine area, and on examining industry potential and training needs for the Taranaki region. 

NZ Super Fund chief executive, Matt Whineray, said that offshore wind has the potential to be an attractive commercial opportunity that aligns with the fund’s climate change investment strategy.

“We are in the unique position of being able to attract best-in-class global partners on infrastructure developments that create positive environmental and social outcomes while delivering financial returns for New Zealanders through the Fund,” Whineray said. 

Demand for electricity is expected to grow over the coming decades as New Zealand shifts towards renewable energy, in line with its goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The government is set to begin work this year on a new regulatory regime for offshore wind.

CIP has about 30GW of offshore wind projects under development, construction and operation across North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. CIP’s investment in the South Taranaki project is part of a broader project development pipeline for CIP’s fund ‘CI V’.

The NZD 58 billion NZ Super Fund is a global investment fund established by the New Zealand government to help pre-fund universal superannuation. It has more than NZD 6 billion invested in New Zealand.

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