Saturday, 23 July 2011

Waitati Energy Project

By Scott Willis

Action on Energy
Last month I wrote about the Democratising Energy Hui and gave a
little detail on feed-in tariffs. Since then, copies of the hui
presentations have been loaded onto the website
(www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati, follow link to Blueskin Power/WEP
– a brief summary of what was achieved is there, too). Now, a small
national working group on feed-in tariffs has been established with
participation from the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, Nelson
Environment Centre, 350 Aotearoa, and Refit-NZ. We're anticipating
some further input as the working group establishes policy
recommendations and already this is a very positive development given
the abject lack of detail in the glossy 2011 New Zealand Energy
Strategy on just how we can build a more sustainable energy future.

Work on preparing posters and material about the Blueskin Wind Cluster
project to take to all communities within the Blueskin zone continues
apace – though you all would have noticed that we weren't able to go
public in July, mainly due to lack of resources. Keep your eyes on
this space and, meanwhile, the story on local energy just keeps
getting better. Of note is the Dunedin City Council's recent 'Solar
Promise' (ODT, Tues, 12 Jul 2011), in which Mayor Dave Cull signed up
alongside other councils to promote solar energy. At the same time the
DCC is working on developing a energy efficiency programme offering
targetted rates to allow people to invest in clean technology, such as
solar hot water and insulation and improve their household's energy
profile. I am hopeful there will be a neat marriage between
opportunities we establish and DCC support packages to make access
simple.

Speaking of solar, it appears the panel that allows electronic
transmission of wind data on the wind tower at Porteous Hill has not
been up to the job recently (hence the limited Wind Rose this month)
and some minor maintenance is required. We are still collecting all
the data, it's just that to conserve energy there's been a pause in
data transmission to our friends at Our Wind Limited for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, Laurence and Margaret Hay have been wonderful 'keepers' for
the tower, maintaining stock fences, ensuring all guy-lines are firm
and generally keeping an eye on things.

Energy Advice
The Waitati Energy Project as it has grown and morphed into a Blueskin
community energy project has developed a deep body of knowledge and
rich relationships relating to energy. We work from and for the
Blueskin community and receive a large number of requests for
information and advice on energy matters which are answered as and
when possible. However, we don't currently have any resources to do
this formally. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust has recognised
that there is potential for a new staff member to provide community
energy advice and developing our capacity to deliver results will be a
focus over the next 12 months, alongside the existing work on the wind
cluster and community energy.

Contact: 03 482 2048, email waitatienergy@gmail.com

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