June/July 2105 News

Winter is definitely here, and with it some wild weather. Cold, wet, windy and dark, that’s our winter experience so far. Many of us are now very aware of those things we meant to do around the home last summer but just didn’t get around to doing. Its funny how we only remember those things when winter really hits… There are a growing number of examples in our community however, of how we can live well, while still respecting our environment. The solar installations are continuing, there’s more micro-wind as well, and more electric vehicles in use and being retrofitted. One household reported that on a particularly cold and wet day recently that they had generated 18KWh of electricity from micro-wind and 17.5 KWh from solar PV, had their electric car batteries charged and their floor heated. They’d managed to use all the power, rather than exporting it, and had enough for the night, all while keeping their house warm without any need to light the fire. Now that’s an inspiring example from the heart of winter!

 This household example it not only an exemplary model for the rest of us, but is also a microcosm of what we hope we can achieve as a community. Residents living up Manse Road are very aware of the work underway to prepare for the new Waitati sub-station, which is to be the central electricity hub for the whole Blueskin area (from Long Beach to Seacliff and everything in between). 2015 05 30 14.57.49The new sub-station will increase the reliability of our existing electricity supply, reducing or eliminating ‘brown-outs’. ‘Brown-outs’ are when the voltage drops – we usually notice it when the lights flicker or dim for a period. They reduce the life of electrical appliances and currently we get quite a few ‘brown-outs’ in Blueskin. The new sub-station will be a positive for the community for other reasons too. Firstly, it will move out of the flood zone, and so be more resilient in the event of extreme weather events. Secondly, it is being designed to accommodate the proposed new generation supply from the proposed wind development, which means that community wind once established, will feed into all our homes. Finally, it will also accommodate the increasing percentage of solar PV feeding back into the grid.

 The beauty of these improvements is that they will accommodate the changes that many of us are already making as more and more of our electricity is locally produced. For those who just want the lights to stay on, there will be no real change, just greater voltage stability. We appreciate the thought and work that our local lines network Powernet has put into the local network as it makes our electricity network far more resilient and useful.

 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. We love to have visitors!