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New Zealand developers warn of 50-year offshore wind delay

RICHARD HEAP

May 17, 2024

Five offshore wind developers have warned the New Zealand government that allowing seabed mining in the country’s waters would delay growth in the offshore wind sector by at least 50 years.

BlueFloat Energy, Elemental Group, Parkwind, Sumitomo and Taranaki Offshore Partnership have written to the government warning the two industries are not compatible and that allowing seabed mining would delay the development of offshore wind in New Zealand until at least the 2070s, as well as potentially spooking offshore wind investors.

They shared their views because mining group Trans-Tasman Resources is seeking approval to extract iron, titanium and vanadium from the seabed off the coast of Patea for up to 35 years.

The groups wrote: “Seabed mining will result in uneven seabed conditions for an extended period after the conclusion of mining activities, during which time the seabed will resettle. This period of consolidation is expected to be many years or even decades. Even after an extended period of resettling, significantly more expensive foundations and equipment will be required in order to build offshore wind in that area in the future, resulting in higher electricity prices.”

Alan Eggers, chairman of TTR, agreed that seabed mining and offshore wind could not happen simultaneously in the same place, but that offshore wind farms could be built soon after mining concludes.

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