Blueskin Energy lodges resource consent

by Sean Barnes

The Blueskin Energy project has reached an important milestone, with the lodgement of the resource consent application to Dunedin City Council (DCC) to construct, operate and maintain a windfarm.

The council has recommended public notification of the consent application, with the submission process opening on 4 November 2015. The notification process is a critical part of the resource consent process, where the consent authority equally welcomes submissions supporting or opposing the project. As such, Blueskin Energy Limited (BEL) is seeking support from around NZ for this resource consent application through the notification process.

The project is a community-scale energy development comprising three sub-megawatt wind turbines (800kW to 900kW) located on Porteous Hill, which overlooks the Blueskin Bay communities.  The wind farm will generate sufficient electricity to power about 25% of the whole Palmerston area network, including the 1000+ Blueskin homes.

BEL is a social enterprise established by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT). BEL will own and operate the windfarm, with other project partners, to return a dividend to support the community support activities of BRCT. In essence, the community windfarm is an opportunity for the trust to become financially sustainable into the future, reducing its dependent on grant funding and donations.

BRCT already provides a wide range of support activities that are focussed on increasing community resilience, including free energy advice, support of volunteer initiatives, access to affordable energy efficiency services such as insulation and firewood, events and advocacy. BRCT also actively supports the work of other organisations such as the Cosy Homes Charitable Trust.

Also of importance is the leadership role this project represents in New Zealand. The Blueskin development is an example of a small-scale renewable generation project developed to lead to greater community resilience, a model that has already attracted considerable interest from other communities across New Zealand.

To read more about the application or to make a submission, please go to the Dunedin City Council webpage.