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.