We would like to hear what questions you might have so we can answer them for you and share those insights. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Yes, we do. Both onshore and offshore wind energy will be needed to meet New Zealand’s and the world’s increasing demand for clean energy. Offshore wind farms harness the typically stronger and more consistent winds found out at sea and don’t take up valuable land.
Offshore wind farms are typically built quite a long way out at sea. While they occupy a reasonably large area, boats are able to pass in between turbines with few restrictions. Turbines are currently set 1.6 km apart but newer turbine designs will be 2.5 km apart. There is some evidence that the presence of wind turbine foundation structures attracts sea life to the area. The location of offshore wind farms will also be planned in consultation with fisheries to minimize any effects.
Offshore wind farm development provides significant opportunities to a region in the form of employment, infrastructure improvement and the establishment of new businesses that can take advantage of the energy generated and provide supporting services. Offshore wind farms could create thousands of high-quality jobs for skilled workers and boost the economy of regions, some of which may be experiencing downturns in their existing industries. Co-benefits such as aquaculture may also be developed.
Depending on the distance of the wind farm from land, the offshore wind farm may be visible from some coastal areas. However, this will depend on the weather conditions and the design of the project. A project may have some (unavoidable) visual impact however it can be minimised through careful location, and colouring. The attractiveness of wind turbines is subjective; however, many people consider these slowly rotating giants to be very graceful.
On a clear day, turbines are likely to be visible from the nearest coastline areas. Any clouds or lack of air clarity quickly reduces visibility. The visual impact depends strongly on distance of the offshore wind farm from land. The turbine colour is carefully selected, and the turbine layout can be designed to minimise the angle of view affected from sensitive locations.
Port Taranaki is the only deep-water port on the West Coast of New Zealand and is the closest port to world-class offshore wind resources. There is available land at the former New Plymouth Power Station site (18.8 ha), and Ports Eastern Reclamation Site (2 ha) for storing and assembly of offshore wind turbine and foundation components. Port Taranaki has significant experience in supporting the construction/development phase of offshore oil and gas projects and this experience is transferrable to the offshore wind industry. Port Taranaki has stated they are open to understanding the requirements of the offshore wind industry and to develop workable solutions where required.
There are several factors that play a role here. Transportation and installation variables are very important but minimum viable size is also directly linked to the wind resource availability, distance to shore, appetite of manufacturers, volume of foundations to be manufactured, etc.
Typically in the range of 25-35 years for turbines and steel structures and longer for concrete components, dependent on site and project conditions.
Most components can be 100% recycled. Historically, blades have been the most challenging element to recycle. Manufacturers are actively working on improving the recyclability of blades and there is ongoing research and development in this area.