Friday, 23 April 2010

Waitati Energy Project

By Scott Willis

Community Turbine update
Whew! Our big report to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Authority (EECA) is finally complete! My verbal report on what we've
discovered will be on the agenda at the next WEP meeting (see below)
but a key finding is that, upon securing a suitable site out of our
shortlist with 7.6 metre/second wind, we could make a community wind
turbine financially viable: generating electricity and income for the
Blueskin community from Purakaunui to Seacliff. That's the simple
story, and the complex one involves a joint development partnership
(we own one turbine in a small cluster of approximately three
turbines), settling on the community ownership form (co-operative
company or limited liability company), and of course, raising the
money.

This is a significant step towards establishing a community turbine.
There is a strong potential to ensure a good return on community
investment (potentially around 10%) that can be returned as both a
household and a community good. The next stage will begin with
community consultation. Then we would need to form the necessary
partnerships, confirm a site and establish the formal community legal
structure. We'll need further funding for project development of
course, and once the earlier elements are in place we can begin
raising community capital for the turbine purchase and start the
resource consent application. This is a $1.5 million project.

WEP meeting
The next WEP meeting is booked for Wednesday the May 5 at 8pm, in the
committee room, Waitati Hall. This is a meeting for the WEP, but
anyone interested in the community turbine is invited. A proposed
agenda has gone out on the WEP e-list, but it includes the community
turbine.

Energy information – word of mouth or online?
Most of us make decisions about what to do next, what to buy or how to
install it or innovate from friends, neighbours and mates. The Waitati
Energy Project in the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust office has
also built up a body of work and knowledge useful for specific
household energy issues and we often know where to direct people if we
can't answer. (The Internet is for social networking sites isn't it?)

However, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority which has
supported us in various ways (and most recently with our community
turbine feasibility study) has been busy sexing-up its website
recently. They really want people to visit, and now the site is much
more accessible and helpful, it is worth a look. Perhaps the best hook
is a competition organised to get people along. So, come on Blueskin
Bay, I want someone here to win a Honda Civic Hybrid, or at least a
solar hot water system! Go to:
http://www.energywise.govt.nz/competition to enter.

There's also plenty of information on the website
http://transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by joining the WEP email
list.


Waitati Energy Project (Blueskin Power): Scott Willis project manager,
waitatienergy@gmail.com, www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati, 482 2048,
0274v 888 314


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Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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