by Scott Willis
When the idea of wind generation for Blueskin Bay was first mooted in 2006, it was part of a range of ideas to build up local energy resilience. Eight years on from that workshop it is gratifying to see just how much as been achieved in that time, not only in terms of the work on small scale wind, but also in retrofitting insulation, providing energy advice, solar promotion, and Home Performance Assessments, even so there is certainly no room to be complacent.
At an immediate level, BRCT and Blueskin Energy Ltd are seeking your support to get our own solar generation up and onto the shared office roof – see our information in this issue. That’s only a very small part of the renewable generation we want to support in the community to build greater energy resilience, but symbolically it’s very important!
Wind projects like our own proposed Blueskin wind development are known collectively as ‘Citizen Wind Parks’ in Germany. ‘Wind parks’ function as economic engines for small communities. Residents get assistance from the get go - help with developing and financing the venture and a guaranteed price for the electricity generated. In New Zealand, by comparison, the electricity market is a bureaucratic nightmare for small generators; it takes resources and time to complete site assessment and secure legal approvals; and there’s a large up-front cost involved in putting up wind turbines … but slowly we’re getting on top of it.
We’re now talking with turbine manufacturers. This involves getting accurate pricing and perfecting the modelling for what will work in Blueskin, as it’s not just a question of putting any old turbine up on the hill, but on finding the best fit for the site with a good match for the kind of wind we have.
We’ve also been working our way through the possible market arrangements and have been having productive discussions as a result. It is very necessary that we are careful to take the necessary time to thoroughly appraise our preferred site and sort through the legal approvals. Over the past month we’ve been working on reducing the risk profile, developing, with legal help from Russell McVeagh, a constitution for our company Blueskin Energy Ltd to make it a fully charitable company and preparing the investment offer.
The work on building energy resilience continues in a myriad of ways. One of the simplest things that can have significant impact at the household level is a Home Performance Assessment ($260 + GST) from a qualified assessor. We provide this ‘invest to save’ service and do all we can to support greater energy resilience and security in our community.
To stay in touch with developments, subscribe to our BRCT update via our website: www.brct.org.nz or pop into the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 4822048.