By Scott Willis
A four turbine wind-cluster located at Porteous Hill above Warrington is closer to being confirmed as viable, with wind measurements and modelling demonstrating sufficient wind. Financial viability, however, rests not just on wind quality, but also on community support and on ensuring a power purchase agreement.
By now many Blueskin residents have attended an Open Day, completed the survey or accessed information about the project from the website, or just followed it in the media. Don't worry if that despite all this, the project is still new to you. There is no intention to move into full development until a few more questions have been answered. These are:
1. Are Blueskin residents still strongly supportive?
2. What level of local investment is available?
3. Are we able to secure a good power purchase agreement?
Now, of course, everyone is looking forward to Christmas and the holidays, however it is also a good moment to get more details. If you want someone to come and explain the proposal and you live in the Purakaunui, Long Beach, Osbourne area, phone Ross Johnston on 482 1029 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your contact details.
If you live in the Waitati – Warrington area phone me on 482 2048 or email email@example.com and leave contact details.
By mid 2012 BRCT will be in a position to assess community support and will then be able to make a decision on preparing a Resource Consent application. There will be public meetings about all this before then.
An important DCC document that will affect you and our community is out now. Called the 'Draft Spatial Plan' it is a geographical perspective on how our communities can meet the needs of current and future generations. In my opinion, and having had input from an early stage of the plan's development, this is a very good document. You can be assured that plenty of people with an interest in our landscape will be submitting on the spatial plan – but the DCC will value hearing from residents and not just property developers.
BEP perspectives will be incorporated into the BRCT submission, which will be submitted by the new deadline of 13 January 2012. As a guide to how the DCC is incorporating broad perspectives in the spatial plan, you will see reference to the 'Waitati Energy Project' (now of course we're 'BlueskinEP'). In this peak oil period it is crucial that our local authority does plan for the whole city's energy needs – and the plan offers a start. Among other things, the plan will help shape the District Plan (covers land-use/planning issues), the transport strategy and the economic development strategy, and will have an effect on community initiatives. It is quite likely that this plan will give greater leverage to community initiatives that are delivering results for local communities, particularly if residents submit their support.
For more information look in the BRCT column and contact me (482 2048) if you have any burning concern/positive comment and I'll see if it can be incorporated. Have a lovely big fat summer break and a low carbon holiday!