Thursday, 23 April 2009

WAITATI ENERGY PROJECT (column)

WAITATI ENERGY PROJECT

By Scott Willis

WEP Retrofit Rollout

First frosts! Yes, don't worry, the WEP retrofit rollout is happening.
I've been fielding enquires about if and when, and can say that after
some frustrations seemingly created by the organisational requirements
for such a rapid rollout, its all speeding up. Just keep an eye on
activity around the containers of insulation material stored in
Waitati. If you have put in an application, be prepared to make some
quick decisions. You'll have to pay $30 on the initial visit, and then
pay the 20% cost before the retrofit can happen. Make it easy by
clearing access to all areas:  you may lose storage but you'll gain
dramatically in household energy efficiency. You can pay in several
ways: in cheque or cash on the day if you've let the contractors know
(when you confirm); directly to the scoper when you receive the
initial visit; by direct credit to EnergySmart's account; by cheque in
the post; by any form at EnergySmart's Dunedin offices. The sooner you
pay, the sooner the retrofit will happen!

As I write, one Waitati resident is employed and two more Blueskin
residents are due to be employed by the contractors to build the
retrofit teams up. I'm hoping they'll become our local retrofit
experts once this rollout is over – available for people unable to
take advantage of this retrofit rollout.

It is not too late to put in an application. There is no
guarantee you'll be accepted, but it is still worth putting it in. A
number of the houses done so far are smaller than the average, meaning
we may get more bang for our buck! You can still find application
forms at Blueskin Bay Library, Waikouaiti Library, Blueskin General
Store, by emailing the WEP, or by calling EnergySmart on 0800 777 674.

Powerhouse Wind Turbine

The exciting news here is that the Lobitz-Brueggemann family, with
Dave Littleton's help, have successfully installed PHW's unique and
innovative 'Thinair' single blade turbine on their property in
Waitati. It is too early to give any results on performance, though
not too early to express an opinion on aesthetics: it's beautiful!

Bill and Wayne of PHW are keen to fine-tune their prototype and Hagen,
with his expertise and passion, is actively participating in PHW's
development and testing of the machine. The PHW team has invested
virtually all in this project and it is both ambitious and pragmatic:
a cutting edge design for small-scale generation in NZ's variable wind
environment. Hagen has plans to generate up to 80% of the household's
energy needs in terms of household energy and transport, helping
recover installation costs, and he now has the ability to do so. It is
exciting to move beyond words and into deeds, and to begin to see what
can really be achieved. As soon as things have bedded in the WEP will
co-ordinate with Hagen, Sabina and PHW a site visit for interested
members of the community, so please get in touch if you'd like a
closer look!

Community Scale Generation

Site visits to establish the best location for community scale
renewables by OU students (to monitor wind flow around Waitati) should
have happened by the end of April and by May towers should be in
place. Alice Bowden, a masters student in the Geography department, is
intending to use the towers to conduct long term monitoring and assess
the potential, while a number of other Geography students will be
installing the towers and conducting a range of measurements. If you
would like to get involved with the renewable generation side of the
WEP, please get in touch.

You can contact us at this address: waitatienergy@gmail.com, visit the
web-page http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or importantly come
to the WEP events. So wrap up, or retrofit, and keep warm till next
month!

- For clickable links and colour pictures, visit the Blueskin News
website: blueskin.co.nz

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