September 2014 News

WAITATI 130914 2

On Saturday the 13th of September Metiria Turei and young helpers James and Rosalind ‘Turned on the Sun’ at the Blueskin Energy Ltd and Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust office to open our ‘mini powerstation’. You can see what we are generating from our six PV panels by visiting our website. Currently we only have a static image but soon we will have a real time updating graphic showing generation. Most of that electricity is currently being used at our office and at the Waitati school, but at weekends we export electricity.

And it is pleasing to learn that while the Waitati Substation area servicing Long Beach, Purakaunui, Osborne, Waitati, Doctors Point, Evansdale and Warrington (and sometimes further north) represents only 6% of the OtagoNet network connections, at the 13th September that mere 6% of network connections also represented 70% of small scale generation capacity in the whole OtagoNet network, or 84kW of installed generation! (Note that the figure given here also includes micro wind). Interest in solar has grown in the community over the last couple of years. In 2012 BRCT began helping facilitate the uptake of solar in Blueskin and it is fantastic to see so many people now taking charge of their own energy use and generation.

84kW of installed capacity is still a long way from enough to offset our collective electricity consumption. We need over 2000 kilowatts of installed capacity just to meet Blueskin’s annual electricity needs. Even assuming our proposed 2.55MW wind development is up and running within the next few years, it won’t build energy security straightaway either. The good news however is that new technologies are emerging which will enable us to use all the new generation we're collectively creating much more intelligently by enabling the development of a truly smart grid. It also looks as though storage technology could make it possible to store some of the electricity produced within the Blueskin zone within the foreseeable future. One of the elements in that scenario is likely to be electrified transport. That’s not something that will happen overnight, but it is coming.

One of the considerations of any new generation project is the capacity of the network to distribute the electricity generated to where it will be consumed. Bigger generation projects often mean that the grid has to be upgraded or extended. That means some careful planning is required to ensure that we don’t rack up extra costs or overburden the network. We have been planning closely with OtagoNet, our local network owners, as we progress the Blueskin wind proposal towards development. The local network has the capacity to manage all the projected generation from our proposed wind development. The wind development also brings with it the benefit of lower transmission losses, which is to our advantage.

This is one of the many things we look at as we work on and consider the economics of the project. Meanwhile, the Dunedin City Council is currently preparing an Energy Plan for the city. We believe that our project will meet many of the Energy Plan’s expected objectives.

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. We love to have visitors!