Optimistic and inspirational. That’s how I’d describe a public talk on “The Energy and Climate Challenge” in December 2014 by ex-US Energy Secretary and Nobel Laureate Professor Steve Chu. The audience was presented with a beautifully succinct explanation of wind energy, wind and electricity system integration, and wind and the electricity market. It was empowering and informing stuff and reminded us that we are on the track with the proposed wind turbine cluster.
Also in December, researchers from the ‘Green Grid’ research project out of Canterbury, working with OtagoNet, installed some power quality monitoring units at eight sites around Blueskin (mostly in Waitati) and PV monitoring units at two homes. In January all the units were removed. As evidence from overseas shows, a high rate of grid-connected photo-voltaic installation (PV) requires different ways of managing the electricity grid. This small research project aims to understand more about the impact of the relatively high level of PV installations in Blueskin, and Blueskin was identified as offering a good test case, i.e. lots of PV within a small area. They want to develop ways to allow the electricity grid to effectively manage the variation in the electricity being supplied by PV systems in a specific area.
Solar PV is often a good choice for suitable households and businesses active during the day. It generates electricity right where it is consumed. It is not so good on its own at fitting the ‘demand profile’ of our whole community or our society. “Demand profile” refers to the different times of the day and different days of the week when we use more or less electricity. And peak electricity demand is when there is the least or no sun – typically in the early morning and evening. But this is precisely why solar is so good as a complementary electricity supply to wind. The profile of electricity from wind generation is a much closer fit to our actual daily electrical needs, so just when solar PV is at its least useful, wind can pick up the slack, and together micro solar and community wind will strengthen our local electricity supply and match demand well.
Over the summer data collection at the wind-testing tower continued unabated. We also had a visit from Wellington based Finance and Management Consultant, Angus Napier (see inset image). Angus is involved in the wind industry and shares our passion for finding low carbon solutions and we’re excited to have Angus now involved with the project. Our key partner, the Akina Foundation, has enabled his participation in the project, and it is exciting to have a growing and skilled team helping the project along. Alongside Angus’s visit we’ve been doing the start of year housekeeping, planning the next 12 month work programme, and contributing information for the Landscape Assessment work.
To stay in touch with developments, subscribe to our BRCT update (you will be taken to the subscribe page of our 'Blueskin Energy Project', as we are in the process of moving this across to this site) or pop into the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 4822048. Go 2015!