by Chris Skellett, Co-chair
For the last couple of years, you will have been reading in the Blueskin News about the wonderful array of activities under way in the Blueskin area. What a fantastic range of community projects geared towards providing us with a sustainable lifestyle in an uncertain future.
Anyone who attended the Nicole Foss presentation last month could not help but feel alarmed at the inevitability of an impending global economic collapse coupled with a total breakdown of carbon-based energy strategies. Something has to change, and it has to change soon. It's all too easy for us to sit at home and watch the global dramas play out on the six o'clock news, but here in Blueskin Bay (including Purakaunui and Long Beach of course) we have a great opportunity to actually do something about it. Most people choose to live in the area because of the lifestyle. We love looking after our own: growing our own food, chopping our own firewood. Now, within our area there is a growing level of excitement about creating a viable source of renewable energy, a wind cluster.
We have the technical expertise, the financial know how, and the political goodwill, to make something quite special happen in our area. Whatever business model we eventually use, BRCT's commitment is that the community will, as much as possible, own the project, either as shareholders or as members of a co-operative. Community ownership is, both financially and psychologically, the critical factor in the project's success.
Wind cluster plans are being prepared for further community participation. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is aware that we would be establishing the first community-owned wind farm in New Zealand. As a prototype of this kind of venture, we have become a nationally significant project and would provide a model for other communities to follow. We would be able to generate our own power in our own community.
It will be a great feeling to look out at the turbines slowly rotating on the hill, and know that they were built by us, are owned by us, and are pulling us together as a community. We will have greater control over our power prices, greater certainty over a sustainable power supply and will have achieved something quite radical as a community.
I joined the BRCT as one of six trustees. We have the role of ensuring that the trust stays true to its objectives. Encouraging Blueskin Bay's resilience, through local food production, transport initiatives, and energy projects such as retrofit house insulation, a planned energy advice service, and the proposed wind cluster, are excellent goals for our community.
I would encourage anyone with an interest in the trust to log on to the website or to visit our office at Waitati School. These are exciting times for the bay. I hope that everyone will feel connected at some level to the idea of developing a more 'resilient' community, and that you can be supportive of the many different and worthy initiatives already under way.
You can find out more about the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ or by calling 482 2048.