Sunday, 22 June 2008

Waitati Energy Project (Column)

A Big Thanks to all who helped and offered prizes and expertise for
the WEP Warm Homes Energy Info Evening on the 12th of June. The
evening was a big success, with a full hall and though ironically it
was as chilly as hell, the consensus from people I've spoken to is
that the evening was very worthwhile. We'd like to design things that
work for everybody, so please send any ideas or suggestions to the WEP
or come to meetings. Specifically, without the voluntary effort of
people involved in the WEP (and who are often part of the other
voluntary associations as well) nothing could have happened. We have a
dynamic voluntary community and the more passionate people involved,
the better!

Our big sponsor, Novatherm, made the very generous donation of a
house-lot of ceiling insulation for the night's big prize. Whare
Mahana, contractors for EECA's insulation and efficiency schemes also
donated labour for the installation of the Novatherm. Throughout the
evening there were giveaways, generously supplied by Placemakers, who
also provided props for the talks. Just about everybody walked away
with something, from energy efficient light-bulbs to draught tape and
switch timers, while Rhys Owen of Warrington walked away with the
night's big draw: 120 square metres of roof insulation plus
installation. Our speakers, Energy Auditor Bob Draper, DCC Energy
Manager Neville Auton, and Bruce Ritchie of Whare Mahana all covered
different bases: respectively energy audit techniques; everything on
household energy; and subsidies for improving household efficiencies.
It was a very full evening and everyone I've spoken to seems to have
been motivated to make some energy change or improvement in their

What we're starting to do now is to consolidate the Waitati Energy
Project. With the current and proposed activities of the WEP, and our
requirements (mainly funds and legal framework), consolidation is
necessary. At our last meeting a feasibility study of community scale
and ownership of generation was proposed. Add that to the ongoing
maintenance of relationships with external partners, relationship
building in terms of new projects, co-ordinating community and
research and sharing news, and we have a lot on, without even getting
to new projects and events. It is time to see if we can get a body
together, and win some funds both for administration and specific

Coming up is another big event in August. On Sunday 10 of August we
are hosting an Energy Expo at Waitati Hall. Invitations to exhibitors,
participants and local innovators will soon be going out, so if you
have any requests, suggestions or ideas please contact the WEP. Mark
the date in your diary!

It has been a busy month. Our Otago Energy Research Centre links are
really producing fuel, with a number of research projects moving along
nicely. I promised more on this last month but it will have to wait.
And Waitati was on TV! (well, indirectly at least). On Sunday the 15th
of June, TV3 aired a piece under 'Business News'on Powerhouse Wind's
single blade turbine and featured an interview with Waitatian Hagen
Brueggerman. No space here to elaborate but you can find it on the TV3
website, looking under business news – look for 'innovative design'.

I hope you are keeping dry and warm. You can contact the Waitati
Energy Project at: or call 4822249.

by Scott Willis

From and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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