Offshore energy potential key contributor in Aotearoa’s decarbonisation journey

15 Sep 2023

Offshore Energy wind turbine BlueFloat

Transpower has released high-level analysis on the integration of offshore wind into Aotearoa’s electricity grid following this year’s New Zealand Wind Energy Association conference.

General Manager Strategy & Customer Chantelle Bramley says the analysis looks to understand the potential impact of connecting offshore renewable generation to the national grid.

“Offshore wind is a great opportunity for Aotearoa, and we have received around 5GW connection enquiries from developers seeking to connect to the grid.”

Back in 2020, Transpower released Whakamana Te Mauri Hiko to start a discussion on New Zealand’s Energy Future. This paper forecast a 68% increase in electricity demand will be required to decarbonise New Zealand’s economy, to be met by an increase in installed generation of about 10GW between now and 2050.

“Offshore renewable energy has the potential to provide a significant part of the generation capacity required to meet our net zero emissions goals, but we have to balance that with a careful consideration of the grid integration and system stability challenges.”

The analysis released today looks at six hypothetical scenarios that reflect developers’ interest in the North Island major connection hubs in Taranaki, Waikato and Auckland. While there is developer interest in the South Island, modelling has been restricted to North Island regions.

“The results of our study are broadly good news – we can integrate a significant amount of new offshore wind capacity without needing major grid investment. Location is important though – we can accommodate more offshore capacity if it connects into different parts of the grid – so split between Taranaki and the Waikato. The analysis also shows that having a corresponding large electricity load is also important to maintaining a stable system.”

In creating this report, Transpower has been actively engaged with offshore wind developers, the NZ Wind Energy Association and MBIE to better understand factors such as scale, location, and timing of the projects. The analysis also reviews international approaches to the integration of offshore wind and how this might inform the approach in Aotearoa.

For further information, please contact:
Laura Ackland, Senior Communications Advisor on 021 394 042