Parkwind Expands Global Reach with Offshore Wind Ventures in New Zealand

In a remarkable development within the renewable energy sector, Parkwind, the Belgian offshore wind farm developer, has unveiled a groundbreaking collaborative effort with Meridian Energy, a publicly-listed company hailing from New Zealand. This strategic partnership signals a pivotal moment for Parkwind, following its acquisition by Jera, a prominent Japanese energy conglomerate, and underscores the company’s aspirations for international expansion within the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

With a laudable track record in wind energy, Parkwind has successfully completed four wind farms in Belgium and is presently engaged in the construction of another in Germany. These achievements have firmly cemented Parkwind’s position as a major player in the offshore wind sector of northwestern Europe. But rather from representing a shift in strategy, the company’s most recent entry into New Zealand is a determined strategic move to take advantage of new opportunities on the other side of the world.

Parkwind’s representative, Mathias Van Steenwinkel, emphasized that the company had targeted the Asia-Pacific area almost 2.5 years prior. Recognizing the region’s medium-term potential for offshore wind, an industry that was yet to fully blossom in New Zealand and Australia, Parkwind’s decision to explore offshore wind projects in the Asia-Pacific region was not arbitrary.

“In the countries around the Pacific Ocean, offshore wind is really developing. We have a lot of competencies, but you can’t just enter every market. Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea are interesting markets but have a lot of challenges, especially around regulations. If you don’t have a foothold there, it’s very difficult,” pointed out Van Steenwinkel.

Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, presented a different set of circumstances. Their cultural proximity to Western Europe, similar regulatory frameworks, and transparency made them highly attractive destinations for Parkwind’s expansion. In addition to these advantages, Parkwind favors collaboration with local partners who possess an in-depth understanding of the market. In Australia, they have already formed a partnership with Beach Energy, and now, they have inked a cooperative agreement with Meridian Energy in New Zealand.

Jera, Parkwind’s new owner, has been an instrumental force in facilitating the company’s endeavors to expand in the Asia-Pacific region. Jera’s own involvement in liquefied natural gas (LNG) activities in Australia aligns seamlessly with Parkwind’s vision. Australia harbors ambitious plans for offshore wind energy, aiming to commence construction by 2030. Meanwhile, New Zealand, already reliant on renewable sources for 85 percent of its electricity, has more modest ambitions in this field, targeting developments two years later.

With Jera as its parent company, Parkwind’s global ambitions have received a substantial boost. “Asian countries used to be difficult for us, but with Jera on board, it’s different. It’s already active there; it’s its home market,” emphasized Mathias Van Steenwinkel. The same principle applies to the U.S. market, where Jera maintains a team of 150 experts. Participation in tenders in the U.S. demands significant financial resources and an acute understanding of the market, both of which Jera provides.

While Parkwind actively expands its global footprint, it remains vigilant about opportunities closer to home. The company is investigating opportunities for tenders in Norway, Ireland, Greece, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, among other European nations. Furthermore, Parkwind is closely monitoring the situation in the Princess Elisabeth Zone, a North Sea designated area where the Belgian government plans to build three new wind farms by 2030. Parkwind’s dedication to its domestic market is unwavering, yet it eagerly awaits concrete details of the tender, along with information regarding connection and timing.

Parkwind’s recent collaboration with Meridian Energy in New Zealand serves as a testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to global expansion within the offshore wind sector. With the steadfast support of its parent company, Jera, Parkwind is poised to leave its mark not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in other international markets.

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