October 2013 News

What these past few years have delivered in terms of energy innovation in Blueskin is far greater energy literacy (or energy awareness) in our settlements. They’ve also delivered a good number of warmer homes thanks to subsidised insulation, good knowledge of our electricity network and local generation potential, and a national spotlight on our ambition to build NZ’s first community initiated wind cluster.

October 2013 CowsOur visitors this month to the proposed site were not unexpected... (see inset photo).

Almost a year on since the big public meetings on the proposed wind development took place, BRCT is finally in a position to establish a business entity (discussed in 2012) to be responsible for the operation of the wind cluster. This entity will allow development and provide good fiscal management. Our intention is to create a tightly held BRCT company as the first stage, as signalled in our community meetings. To find out more about this first stage BRCT company please get in touch with us (tel: 03 4822 048). Stage 2 of the company development is the development of a constitution, which we want in place before investment is invited. While we have a good idea from previous research and community participation of the principles people want enshrined in a constitution (an entity able to deliver durable community benefit), we will also be launching an online survey, providing an information drop and inviting input at a public meeting at 7pm in Waitati Hall on Wednesday the 4th of December (put this date in your diary). It can’t be all things to all people, but we do want as much information as we can to help us shape the key principles that will form its backbone.

We’ve learned that transition in our ‘energy culture’ is not an overnight affair. Working on making our homes more energy efficient or energy productive requires planning, resources and work – and sometimes we’d rather spend our weekends at the beach! Working on building collaboration, consensus and commitment to make homes warm and cosy also takes time, and that's before we talk about how to finance cosy homes. Working on developing a small wind cluster in Blueskin to feed electricity into the local grid (serving over 1000 Blueskin households) involves a lease, a resource consent, a power purchase agreement, a business entity, and planning for significant investment. All of this must be carefully managed if we are to achieve our goals of greater energy security and community resilience. With many of these elements now falling into place, we can more clearly see our target, we understand the required steps and are working through them.

Energy security and resilience is greater than local wind, as important as our main task is. We’re working concurrently on Cosy Homes with a coalition of partners; we’re planning for community firewood supply; and we’re promoting solar uptake. Thanks to those people who have gone with SolarCity under the negotiated “BS1” deal, we now have a donation of 450W of solar panels for public buildings in Blueskin (dollars spent with SolarCity means a contribution to solar for public buildings in Blueskin). Solar installation numbers through all schemes are increasing and those who have gone solar already are the best solar advocates.

If you are interested in our other BRCT projects, please see this months news for updates.

Visit us at the office at 1121 Mt Cargill Rd, Waitati. Telephone enquiries can be made on 4822048, contact members of the Trust through office@brct.org.nz and for any information about solar email solar@blueskinpower.co.nz.

By Scott Willis