Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Blueskin Energy Project column

By Scott Willis

The first thing you'll notice this month is a name change. I know
there are too many acronyms in Blueskin Bay, however the Waitati
Energy Project has long outgrown its modest beginnings, and as you'll
see at the forthcoming Open Days, it is now a truly "Blueskin"
project, so the change to the 'Blueskin Energy Project'. This is a
change by necessity and accuracy too, as no-one could argue that
participants in Waitati Energy Project activities hail only from
Waitati anymore. What's in a name? A more inclusive, accurate and
powerful collective action is the goal.

Our community energy journey
'Blueskin Energy Project' Open Days begin this month, kicking off at
Long Beach Hall on the 11th of September, then at the Warrington and
Waitati Halls the following weekend (17th & 18th – see advertisement
p?) What we've done is summarise the work to date in a range of
graphic displays. The idea of community wind turbines was first mooted
in 2006 and community energy work began in 2007, with a focus
initially on raising awareness about energy issues and energy
efficiency. It wasn't until 2009 that substantial work on making our
houses more energy efficient (the Waitati Energy Project Retrofit
Programme) and establishing the feasibility of local renewable energy
really began. Since then, much has been achieved, and discussed at
numerous public events and meetings. The open dialogue at Waitati
Energy Project meetings has provided a wealth of information that has
helped guide the project forward, but there have been gaps.
Information has not been as well spread in all Blueskin settlements,
and there are different levels of understanding so we'll be taking the
displays into communities and asking everyone to have a say. We really
want to see as many people as possible, and to that end, are making
sure that there will be things for everyone, i.e. fun bits and pieces
alongside rich information. Please come along to discuss, yarn,
observe, play, or whatever, on one of these weekend afternoons.

Wind Data news
Oh the sad news! Securing data collection at a cold windy site is not
always simple, all the experts know. So when the data collector
stopped sending updates to Our Wind Limited at the end of June, we
weren't concerned at first – there's back-up. In July PJ Clarke and I
added an additional solar panel to increase battery charging, and 24
hours later replaced the battery. However, the original battery had
actually died and so, with it, had the data collection programme. The
next few days it blew and blew and blew. But the wind tower wasn't
registering anything comprehensible. It was only after Laurence Hay on
his regular check did an 'unplug – replug' that the programme could be
uploaded and data collected again. All in all we lost about 6 weeks of
data – six very windy weeks I might add! Still, things are back on
track and Porteous Hill is again demonstrating that there is good wind
resource available (see wind rose).

Tel: 03 4822048 / email: waitatienergy@gmail.com

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