Friday, 21 January 2011

WAITATI ENERGY PROJECT

by Scott Willis

Ten degrees daytime temperature in summer?  Well, it is January (as I
write), typically a rotten weather month, and with four (mostly) large
people in our house we do sometimes need to light the fire to ensure a
supply of hot water, even when the summer sun shines. The problem
isn't our inefficient solar tubes – in fact they're very efficient –
it's the small size of our hot-water cylinder, which I should have
replaced when we put in our solar hot-water system in 2004. The sun only
heats water during the sunlight hours after all, but we use it at all
times of the day, particularly mornings and evenings.

Greentech
In December, during a workshop, a series of meetings,
and a symposium, in Wellington and Whanganui, I had an opportunity to meet a whole range of people
interested in energy issues. What was surprising to me
was learning of so many people looking to Blueskin Bay and our energy
initiatives to show a way forward for their own energy ambitions. It
is rather daunting to realise that people have their hopes pinned on
us. With adequate resourcing, however, I am sure we will have the goods
to deliver. In January and early February I am working on an important
Community Environment Fund bid to support the development of an
integrated energy community encompassing the zone identified in
Blueskin Power investigations: Purakaunui, Long Beach, Osborne,
Waitati, Evansdale and Warrington (the end point of the local grid
that radiates out from the Waitati substation). The idea is to meet
the desire expressed in Waitati Energy Project public meetings to work
on full energy options, i.e. the community turbine AND other green
technology to generate electricity, while also increasing household
energy efficiency and reducing energy demand. I'm hoping we can secure
an exciting range of energy technologies to offer within the Blueskin
zone, ideally subsidised or available for trial. Watch this space, as
we're developing some great partnerships that promise some results on
the ground even if the CEF bid is ultimately unsuccessful.

International intern
Xavier, a 20-year-old student at the International Business Academy (bachelor programme), will be joining me in our new office in mid-February for two and a half months. Xavier is going to work with me on
developing the business answers to enable the establishment of a
community turbine or small wind cluster. Please look out for Xavier
and say hello if you bump into him.

Community input
Many of you received a flyer (Energy and
Blueskin Bay
) in your letterbox last year giving some general information about the energy
investigations to date and offering an opportunity to get involved. It
is still hoped that we can tie this event in with EECA-supported
research, but I can't say yet if that will be possible. In parallel,
Seth Gorrie of the Otago University Energy Cultures team has been
interviewing residents in Blueskin Bay over summer about energy issues, and I've heard that his preliminary findings reveal a strong interest in
the energy initiatives from residents in all our coastal communities
and a desire to be further involved. I've also heard that many people
have some very intelligent questions, which bodes well for future
productive public discussion and decisions.

Powerhouse Wind in Blueskin
The December WEP subscriber email update included an offer from
Powerhouse Wind, offering two different deals for their soon to be
commercialised Thinair turbine. You may also have seen articles in the ODT of
5 January on both Blueskin and Powerhouse Wind (see:
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/143207/waitati-eyed-energy-trial-zone
and http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/143210/future-wind-cash-needed).
If you're not on the WEP list and want to follow this up, contact PHW
on 470 1071 or email contact@powerhousewind.co.nz .
More regular updates are sent out via the WEP email update – contact
me at waitatienergy@gmail.com to register.

Scott Willis
Project Manager
Waitati Energy Project (Blueskin Power)
www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati
03 4822048
0274888314

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Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
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