Plans for an offshore wind farm in Zuidland are being made

BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group are exploring potential locations for an offshore wind farm in Southland.  (File photo)

Elementary Group

BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group are exploring potential locations for an offshore wind farm in Southland. (File photo)

Southland’s prevailing southerly winds are driving development of several wind farms across the province – and the possibility of taking the turbines offshore is now being looked into.

The business partnership that announced plans to build wind farms off the coast of Taranaki and Waikato is exploring potential sites in Southland, but plans for the farm are unlikely to become known until next year.

BlueFloat Energy, a global developer of offshore wind energy, is exploring development opportunities for offshore wind at locations in New Zealand and Australia.

It has partnered with Elemental Group in New Zealand and they have announced two projects: South Taranaki Offshore Wind and Waikato Offshore Wind.

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South Taranaki offshore wind

The companies behind a proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Raglan provided this video, which outlines their vision.

In November, it announced its first $4 billion, offshore wind farm with 65 turbines will be built 22 km off the coast of South Taranaki by the end of the decade. The turbines, which are mounted on the seabed, will generate 900 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power nearly 440,000 homes.

Offshore Wind Communications Manager Bianca Ruakere said the companies were currently working on some of the basic studies they needed to complete to evaluate the feasibility of the Southland project.

“This includes a desktop environmental survey to help inform potential site locations. We expect this investigation to be completed in June,” she said.

Representatives of the partnership were in Zuidland last week.

Partnerships director Justine Gilliland, iwi liaison lead Toko Kapea and BlueFloat energy senior development advisor for APAC Jarek Pole met leaders from iwi and hapu, local government, unions, the Southland Chamber of Commerce and presented at a Great South hosted event on offshore wind energy and social purchase.

Such offshore wind turbines can generate electricity from Southland's abundant wind.  (File photo)

Elementary Group

Such offshore wind turbines can generate electricity from Southland’s abundant wind. (File photo)

“We are also making progress with the site assessment – ​​this includes getting early feedback on potential sites,” she said.

“We think we will know around mid-2023 whether Zuidland offers a good opportunity for the region, our stakeholders and us as developers.”

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey and Invercargill mayor Nobby Clark were unavailable for comment about the project.

Build on Meridian Energy’s $115 million Kaiwera wind farm near Gore started late last year and in December Southern Generation announced plans build a wind farm at jericho station at Blackmount.