The event was hosted in partnership with the Engineering Taranaki Consortium, Venture Taranaki and WITT Te Pūkenga to raise awareness of the scale of the opportunity and potential for offshore wind in the country. The consortium has recently announced a 900 MW development for South Taranaki and a phased development offshore West Waikato starting with an initial 250 MW fixed bottom development followed by a larger floating wind farm.
Speaking at the event, Energy Estate Co-Founder and Principal Simon Currie said that Taranaki and wider New Zealand had a strong base of skills and experience to build a successful offshore wind industry:
“We can create renewable energy zones that are clustered with onshore renewables and integrated with existing infrastructure, ports and transmission systems, and the businesses that need the energy like dairy and industrial producers.”
Brett Rogers, Director at Elemental Group said New Zealand’s wind is world-class and that creates a wonderful opportunity to create a wind industry:
“There are a lot of synergies with the oil and gas sector and transferable skill sets so many of the firms and employees who have supported that industry will have the right type of expertise for offshore wind.”
Kyle Hall from the NZ School of Engineering, Energy & Infrastructure at WITT Te Pūkenga spoke about upskilling and training the workforce for the new energy sector: “WITT Te Pūkenga can offer training and professional development in the areas of trades, engineering, energy, infrastructure, business, Māori enterprise, IT and many other supporting industries. We are prepared to upskill the current workforce, train new people moving into a new energy sector and develop new courses as required from industry.”
With around 60 guests attending the event in person and a further 100 registered online Partnerships Director Justine Gilliland was thrilled with the support and interest in the audience: “We are hugely excited about offshore wind in Aotearoa and the opportunities it will bring across the supply chain. To build a successful industry we will need to invest in training and skills development, social procurement and best-in-class technology and innovation. It’s a really exciting time to be building a new sector and it’s really encouraging to have so many people with us this evening to help understand how they can join us on the journey.”
Attendees at the event represented several different professions and industries, coming from as far as Gore and including legal, HR and recruitment, education and training, engineering, HSSE, maintenance, offshore service suppliers and local government, infrastructure, ports and regional economic development.
Sam McKenzie from Atlas Professionals, HR and Recruitment specialists for the energy sector, said they are looking to recruit the next generation of offshore engineers. Supported by the BlueFloat consortium, Atlas are hosting “Offshore Wind 4 Kids” at Ngāmotu Beach on the 27 November and 11 December where kids can learn about offshore wind and have a chance to construct their own wind turbine.