by Scott Willis
Blueskin Energy Limited, a company wholly owned by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) to drive the wind project, was formally incorporated in December last year. This followed a hall meeting about the project on 4 December where we had a valuable open community discussion. Charles Abraham and Tony Wilson are its directors and BRCT is the sole shareholder. These steps have been made possible thanks to invaluable assistance from the Hikurangi Foundation and Russell McVeagh. We are now much closer to our goal of community wind, with a clear pathway ahead.
This year has started out looking like a more normal 'wind year' than 2013, while the wet and windy summer in Blueskin has been less suited to solar. But the thing about renewables is that they capture nature's resources when available and work best in combination to provide security of supply.
Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are both a blessing and a curse. Since their serious deployment around the world beginning in the mid 1800s (oil, that is – coal fuelled the Industrial Revolution in Britain from the late 1700s) we have come to live in a high-carbon civilisation wolfing down fossil fuels like there was no tomorrow. Fossil fuels have provided us with the ability to populate all corners of the globe and consume earth's finite resources at an increasingly rapid rate. Their deployment has also cursed us with a now unstable climate and rising sea levels, threatening current and future generations.
Renewables are gaining ground as the Dunedin debate about the value of even further fossil fuel exploration in the trickier local environment heats up. We won't turn around 200+ years of system development overnight, but a transition is happening. Solar installations in Blueskin are booming, wind is underway and awareness on energy issues is on the rise. Moving out of a high-carbon world requires a reversal of many systems built up on the basis of readily available fossil fuels, and will require considerable community effort and commitment, but will bring rewards at the same time.
The new BRCT company has been formed as a development entity to drive the Blueskin wind project forward. Last year significant progress was made. Wind testing has revealed that a small wind farm at Porteous Hill, the preferred community site, will generate an estimated 6.1 gigawatt hours annually – slightly more than the annual demand from Blueskin's 1000 households. The company is now working on an early stage investment proposition to be offered to investors this year. BRCT has also been approached to consider other possible sites for small-scale wind, and sees great potential for additional future development via Blueskin Energy Ltd.
Visit us at: www.brct.org.nz or at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 482 2048. For any information about solar email firstname.lastname@example.org and for energy advice email email@example.com.