Friday, 24 May 2013

BLUESKIN ENERGY PROJECT

by Scott Willis

Wind monitoring on Porteous Hill is helping build up a rich picture of the generation potential for the Blueskin wind cluster project. This year has started out with moderately low wind and our measurements are now helping us to better understand the risk profile of the project. As electricity generated from any wind cluster will have to be sold into the market, and a wind cluster needs important capital investment in order to be built, it is important to know what the chances of low wind are and how low wind will affect income. We now have two complete months of data from the 30-metre tower. The proposed wind cluster development is not a short-term project. In fact, wind development has much in common with forestry development, with renewal (new or repowered turbines) every 20 years or so (like replanting trees in a forestry block). This means that costs and benefits are viewed over a long period and the first in-depth analysis of wind potential at Porteous is still some months away.

Preparatory work on the resource consent application has begun. The process for a resource consent is: professional appraisal of any effects (positive or negative) of the proposed project, and meetings with nearest landowners; preparation of an application for submission to the Dunedin City Council; preliminary appraisal and (usually) public notification so that people can make submissions in support or opposing the proposed project.  After a standard period a council hearing is held with the applicant and other submitters speaking, then the resource consents committee makes its decision. That's the formal bit.

To date however, we've sought community input on a whole range of non-Resource-Management-Act issues, such as concept, investment, and governance, to ensure wide participation and to be sure there's a strong community mandate for the project. Open days, surveys and fundraising all show exceptionally strong community support. However, it is important that we hear from anyone who hasn't felt heard so far, because we need to have as much participation as possible. Please get in touch, we love to get opinion, ideas and more people involved!

The solar project has also been progressed and the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust has just produced and emailed out a pamphlet setting out the simple solar options for people interested in installing solar electricity (solar PV) or solar hot water (solar thermal). It is exciting to see solar installations already appearing in Blueskin, and to have a range of options that just make the solar choice simple. Funding options are also detailed, and these are not limited to solar but to a range of small scale generation and eco-home options.

Visit us at: www.blueskinpower.co.nz, or at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 482 2048 (the wind cluster) and for any information about the solar project email solar@blueskinpower.co.nz.

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