By Scott Willis
Home Energy Advice (a partnership between BRCT & Otago University's Energy Cultures Team) is available by telephone each Monday and Tuesday, call 482 2207 and through free home energy audits run by Chris Freear. To register for an energy audit visit: www.blueskinpower.co.nz or call the advice line. Do you want to reduce energy bills and make your home warmer and healthier? An energy audit with advice designed for your personal situation will go along way to achieving those goals.
The Solar Project, which began as a proposal to establish a 'Solar Buyers Syndicate' is now in the spotlight as well. Chris Le Breton is volunteering in the BRCT office one day a week to develop the Solar Project and to ensure a good fit between community need and solar opportunity. Make sure if you're calling the BRCT office for energy advice or solar information to specify which Chris you want to talk to – 'Imported Chris' or 'Kiwi Chris'.
In recent wind cluster developments, our core partner the Hikurangi Foundation with whom we're working very closely, has been helping secure top quality pro-bono support. Alongside their own expertise, Hikurangi have brokered very productive talks with Russel McVeigh (legal experts), GL Garrad Hassan (technical experts) and Woodward Investment Partners (Financing and Investment expertise), with returns in the technical area already.
The latest Wind Resource Assessment has already been completed by WindFlow Technology Limited and Garrad Hassan (NZ and the world's largest renewable energy consultancy) is now working on an independent review. Both are already recommending we move to the next stage in measurement, which is a higher wind measurement tower to confirm the synthesised data (i.e. what wind speeds are estimated at hub-height) and we're working to this end in parallel. There have also been some discussions about university supported Sodar wind appraisal, which is a technique that measures wind speed using sound waves.
Technical appraisal is crucial, but only part of the picture. To provide a secure investment proposal and to deliver social good outcomes, we also need to reduce the risk of the project. One of the key ways of doing this as community developers of a small-scale generation project will be to establish a long-term electricity supply contract. By being grid-connected we will be required to enter into market arrangements. We have begun exploring options here in discussions with the DCC and Port Otago Ltd, both of which are significant electricity consumers. Grid-connection means when the wind does not blow we will need the back-up of the grid with its battery bank of hydro storage. Meanwhile, the community feedback events have been delayed while technical analysis and financial modelling in particular are complete.
You can find out more by visiting us at www.blueskinpower.co.nz. Telephone enquiries can be made on 482 2048 (the wind cluster) and 482 2207 (energy advice).