Offshore wind may provide $50b by 2050

Offshore wind could add nearly $50 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and create 10,000 jobs, says a new study.The development of a New Zealand offshore wind energy industry will play a critical role in helping the country meet rapidly increasing demands for clean energy and New Zealand’s net zero commitments, says the national impact study from PWC, released at the Offshore Renewable Energy Forum in Taranaki.

Key findings include the need to triple the volume of renewable energy generated to meet net zero targets (an average 1GW offshore wind farm could power about half a million homes), could contribute $50b to GDP by 2050, create10,000 jobs during the build-out phase and a further 2000 ongoing jobs in operations and maintenance along with additional opportunities across the supply chain, decrease fossil fuel reliance (contribute to a 26% reduction in New Zealand’s energy emissions by 2050),and unlock the hydrogen economy to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors like heavy transport and steel production and use sustainable fuels produced from hydrogen for aviation, maritime and road transport.

Main benefits of offshore wind include relatively high-capacity factors (consistent generation), more power when New Zealand needs it most (winter), greater flexibility to choose project sites which minimise effects and are close to electricity demand (New Zealand’s large exclusive economic zone is 15 times its landmass), and promoting new research into New Zealand’s marine species while filling information gaps about the existing environment.

“Not only do we have one of the most abundant resources to be found anywhere in the world but a skilled and knowledgeable workforce with the talent to make this happen,” says BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group partnerships director Justine Gilliland.“The climate challenge means that we need new renewable energy, and we need it at a scale and pace that can help us meet growing demands for electrification and for green fuels,” she says.

“As many countries introduce sustainability tariffs, offshore wind can help us stay competitive on the world stage by ensuring our products are created and transported to the world sustainably from renewable sources.”Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki chief executive Kelvin Wright says the milestone study highlights the significance of the opportunity, acknowledges some of the challenges involved, and ultimately helps to advance understanding of this new industry.With this study on the table, we look forward to continuing the discussion with our local community, Iwi, and key industry players.”

BusinessNZ Energy Council executive director Tina Schurr says the study is a critical step in understanding multifaceted implications of offshore wind energy development here.” It underscores the importance of careful planning and stakeholder engagement to navigate the complexities of industry development.“As we consider the future of our energy sector, this report serves as a valuable tool for decision-makers, offering insights to guide sustainable and inclusive growth.”

T study highlights and confirms the essential and strategic role ports and port infrastructure play in the development of offshore wind farms – for the marshalling and assembly of wind turbines and structures, and as a base for installation and maintenance work, says Port Taranaki chief executive Simon Craddock.

“As the only deep-water port on the west coast of New Zealand, and the port closest to many of the proposed developments, Port Taranaki has a key role to play in both the construction and servicing phases.“For this to occur, port upgrades are necessary, and the timing of upgrades is critical to ensure offshore wind farm construction is not delayed.”