Energise Ōtaki is a community initiative to build a resilient and sustainable future for Greater Ōtaki.
At its heart is a vision to become a community that can supply all its own energy needs and become a net exporter of energy.
The Energise Ōtaki vision is ambitious, involving action across many areas. It is about reducing reliance on fossil fuels, giving people choices about what energy they consume and how they purchase it, and increasing local clean energy generation. By reducing demand for energy through efficiency improvements and conservation, we aim to reduce people’s power and fuel costs and also improve their health, as well as reducing the town’s contribution to climate change.
Energise Ōtaki is advanced through community involvement in projects, large and small. The idea is not owned by any one group and relies on individuals, businesses and organisations becoming involved. Energise Otaki is supported by Kāpiti Coast District Council, Transition Towns Ōtaki, Ōtaki College, the Association of NZ Clean Technology Industries, the Otaki Mail and many others.
Energise Ōtaki has its own community-based website where people can learn more about the vision, the projects and how they can get involved. Check it out at: http://energise.otaki.net.nz
An informal community reference group meets every four weeks to discuss ideas and projects and to see how they can be advanced under the Energise Ōtaki umbrella. All are welcome to attend. If you would like to come along, please contact Energise Ōtaki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Chip report on Energise Ōtaki
A 2013 Council commissioned study from technology experts Green Chip found that:
- Greater Ōtaki uses approximately 161 gigawatt-hours per year – as much energy as running 6,000 bar heaters non-stop.
- Only one quarter of this energy is electricity. Petrol and diesel combined had the biggest share at 55% of the total.
- These fuels were the least efficiently used, with only 14% of their total energy being turned into useful power.
- Overall, Ōtaki is only 37% efficient. This shows a huge potential for improving energy efficiency.
- Ōtaki produces some of its own renewable energy – firewood, sourced mainly locally. This makes up 6.5%. All other energy comes from outside Greater Ōtaki.
Green Chip identifies energy saving solutions, such as home insulation, better heating, cutting down on car use and LED lighting as some of the best ways to reduce energy demand in Ōtaki.
The study highlights some exciting technology developments from around the world, such as giant funnels that direct the wind into compact, ground-level turbines and exotic processes for turning organic wastes into liquid fuels.
Council Energy Advisor Jake Roos says the study gives a road map for moving towards a future where local energy is a key component of a strong local economy. The full report can be downloaded below.
Solar energy demonstration and data
In 2011, The Council, Electra and partners at the Clean Technology Centre worked together to install a 2 kilowatt-peak photovoltaic system on Ōtaki Library and Memorial Hall to demonstrate solar energy in action as part of Energise Ōtaki. You can access realtime and historic energy data on the system here.