Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blueskin Power

By Scott Willis

The summer holiday is over, school is back and so are we! 2013 is going to be a big year for energy and for the Blueskin Wind Cluster project in particular. There's also activity in making solar opportunities available (see the Solar Tube) and BRCT is also collaborating with Presbytarian Support Otago to provide some Energy workshops in neighbouring community Pine Hill.

Over summer I've been incredibly humbled by the enthusiasm and generosity shown by not just Blueskin residents, but from people all around the country, who've responded so strongly to our first ever crowd-sourcing campaign.

The PledgeMe campaign was designed to raise hard cash to raise the 30 metre wind testing tower on Porteous Hill – the critical next step in the Blueskin Wind Cluster project. Through the PledgeMe web platform, we sought pledges that had to be made by credit card. This presented some minor challenges as a number of people quite sensibly do not use credit cards and yet where there's a will there's always a way!

To make matters a little nail-biting, PledgeMe only collects pledges if the goal is met, and it seemed like a lofty target. And yet, over 60 days people have responded, and added their pledges to the pile each according to their capacity. It was ambitious, with a goal of $8200, and as I write we have seven days left and are only $285 short! Watch this space!

Alongside pledges, people were offered rewards, and the magnanimous offers of goods and services from talented Blueskin locals just made this campaign. My deepest thanks to: Paul Cardno, Ara Nokomis, Leo LaDell and Jenna Packer for the incredible wealth and variety of rewards in the campaign, and for your incredible generosity in donating so much to this effort. The rewards provided an enticing offer of something in return for a pledge, and a neat way of demonstrating a transition between the formal economy and the gift economy.

When the deadline closes at the end of January, the process for getting the 30 metre tower installed will begin in earnest. Tristan Port from Oceana Gold has been working with us and has donated dead-man anchors that we need to get in the ground to raise and anchor the tower. As soon as the paper work is complete these anchors will go in and then the process of installation and data collection can begin. The information the tower will provide is critical for a thorough evaluation of the site's generation potential and for shaping the development pathway.

Visit us at:, or at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati (on Waitati School grounds). Telephone enquiries can be made on 4822048  (the Wind Cluster) and 4822207 (Energy Advice) and for any information about the solar project email Chris Le Breton at



Lucas, Ben and Lucan help organise dead-man anchor components"

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