Dec 2014/Jan 2015

We’re back! Its not easy returning to the office after all the hot weather we’ve been having, but it has been gratifying nevertheless to see how much electricity the office has been generating during our absence, and also feeding back into the grid. Some of you living nearby will have been consuming electricity generated at the BRCT office and some from other solar homes that have been ‘exporting electricity’ in your neighbourhood this summer. As this is the first Blueskin News of the year, we’ve included some of December’s activities as well.

First up, the research and writing up of research in the Food System Project was completed late last year and this exciting report is now being prepared for publication. We hope that it will contribute useful information to all the existing initiatives and helps stimulate more community interest in food issues. If the gourmet eating activities around Blueskin over summer could be recorded in print it would probably indicate that we have a signficant local food network already. We are also in the process of creating a leaflet that we will distribute to the wider community. This will pull all the interesting bits out of the report and deliver them in an easy to read leaflet. We look forward to receiving feedback on our report …

In December, we made a submission to the DCC on the government’s plan to allow further exploratory oil and gas drilling off our coast and we made a submission to the Otago Regional Council on its draft Regional Policy Statement. Both of these can be found on our website. Also on our website are a couple of interesting reports: one on solar uptake in Blueskin, the other on the status of ‘Smart Grid’ work in New Zealand.

I had a trip to Southland in December and met with Awarua Synergy in Invercargill, ‘In Zone’ Industries Ltd, and caught up with OtagoNet en route. It was exciting to learn more about what is happening in the deep south with our partner organisation to make homes warm and cosy, and learn about their model.

Here in Dunedin, the Cosy Homes Trust is being formalised and work behind the scenes will mean the Trust, when formally launched, will be ready for action! BRCT’s Home Performance Advisors, will, we hope, help contribute to Cosy Homes objectives in a very positive way and we were very pleased in December to have a big meeting with the newly accredited Home Performance Advisors, and try out some of the thermal guns that are part of their armament.

2014 12 09 Electric bike for BRCT jan 15We’ve had more interest in E-Bikes, and one E-Bike we got in as a demonstration model was snapped up by the first person who tried it (we acted as go between, and the bike was bought directly from the retailer without retailer mark-up, as part of a deal we have with the retailer). Low carbon transport looks to be an important activity area in 2015!

The latest Cuppa Tea article by Morgan Williams uses personal example to talk about solar citizens, technology, and the inevitable paradigm change, and Dr Williams is not afraid to call a spade a spade! It follows a stimulating article on the pros and cons of establishing your own woodlot, from our own Craig Marshall. With Laurence, the Cuppa Tea’s indefatiguable secretary stepping down in 2015, we are on the lookout for someone keen to take on this role. It involves attending a relaxed, social meeting once a month, (where business is usually dealt within 15 minutes), and ocassionally chasing up contributors, and culling a modicom of spam. Sound like you? Please contact us if interested.

As always, we can be found in the old dental clinic at Waitati School, call us on 4822 048 or email us.  We have a load of free energy resources available. And a ‘Happy New Year’ to all!