Wind Power, Zero Energy Homes, Power Conservation and Local Production Hailed As A Great Mix in New Zealand Green Energy Challenge
Rather than choosing one answer to New Zealand’s increasing demand for power, a group of energy experts on the judges panel for the green energy design challenge ‘Wild Energy’ have ruled that a cluster of small scale green enery design options are the best way forward.
Wild Energy, the green energy design challenge, has been running since October 2010 and was intended to showcase the myriad of power generation and conservation options available to New Zealand. It was also intended to attract energy generation or conservation ideas that could replace the proposed hydro dam at the Mokihinui River. Though the judges ruled that none of the entries entirely demonstrated how they could replace the proposed dam, they did say that in combination the designs could nicely complement each other. Wild Energy has drawn to a close with not one, but four commended entries, plus one non-entry letter worthy of recognition.
The judges rated the entries ‘Wind Power’, ‘Zero Energy Town House’, ‘Energy Conservation: roof vent’ and ‘Reduce home use by installing home PV and wind generation’ as the most feasible green designs. The Most Highly Commended Wild Energy certificate goes to ‘Wind Power’ by Power House Wind. Three Highly Commended certificates go to: ‘Zero Energy Town House’, ‘Energy Conservation: roof vent’ and ‘Reduce home use by installing home PV and wind generation’
The judges said that the most important contribution to getting more sustainable energy generation and innovation in New Zealand was the introduction of Feed in Tariffs, which was submitted as commentary to the judges, rather than an entry to the competition.
Stephan Heubeck, spokesperson for the charitable trust REFIT New Zealand, whose aim is to inform New Zealanders about the benefits and further the uptake of, small scale renewable distributed generation schemes, sent a letter about the FIT concept as a non entry comment to the judges of Wild Energy. He said that small scale, localised green energy schemes that feed back into local power grids were the best way forward. He said that FIT systems have been implemented successfully, in over sixty states and territories world wide, generating green electricity, spurring technology developments, increasing security of supply and creating jobs where they are most needed.
“Additions to New Zealand’s electricity supply still have an almost exclusive focus on large scale generation schemes, often relying on fossil fuels,
often distant from the points of use, more often than not developed without local participation, that continue to create a flurry of controversy and keep courts up and down the country busy. Yet the technologies to develop smaller scale generation systems, that utilize a more diverse renewable resource base (from biomass to small geothermal and from community scale wind to micro hydro), that are better suited to local environments, that allow for more local participation and economic benefit and are chiefly integrated with local distribution networks have been available to us for many years. We simply failed to make the most out of the available technology”
According to Heubeck a FIT system would provide a level playing field for small scale renewable generation schemes, and enable small scale renewable generation to contribute to national electricity needs, as it is common practice in many overseas countries.
“Additions to New Zealand’s electricity supply have an almost exclusive focus on large scale generation schemes, often relying on fossil fuels, often distant from the points of use, more often than not developed without local participation, that continue to create a flurry of controversy and keep courts up and down the country busy.
Wild Energy Judge Jeanette Fitzsimons said “The best solution in my view, by a long way, would be a combination of several of the small scale alternatives – more resilient, and able to back each other up at different times. We all felt the Feed-in-tariff was the key to getting small scale renewables actually implemented but this was not formally an entry. However, if you combined this with small scale wind and micro hydro and some good energy efficiency ideas … you would have a great system.”
Judge’s Choice went to: ‘Wind Power’, ‘Zero Energy Town House’, ‘Energy Conservation: roof vent’ and ‘Reduce home use by installing home PV and wind generation’
The Audiences Choice went to: ‘The Answers Already Exist’ by Achmed Khammas with an introduction to his German book about green energy design options spanning thirty five years. Achmed will receive an Audiences Choice certificate. Although Achmed’s entry won the audience choice award, it’s failure to meet the competition’s criteria meant that it was ineligible to be the Overall Winner.
Links to the Commended entries:
‘Energy Conservation: roof vent’ - http://happyzine.co.nz/2011/01/31/energy-conservation-roof-vent-7th-entry-into-the-wild-energy-challenge-%E2%80%93-please-cast-your-vote/
‘Reduce home use by instaling home PV and wind generation’ - http://happyzine.co.nz/2011/02/01/reduce-home-use-by-installing-home-pv-and-wind-generation-8th-entry-into-the-wild-energy-challenge-%E2%80%93-please-cast-your-vote/
Selected Judge’s comments:
“I think the one long blade is an interesting idea and the real innovation of this project. The windmill is generic and unobtrusive which may allow for greater uptake. There is high potential to reduce energy demand if indeed the turbine works in low wind conditions and in a sub-urban setting.” Tim Wigmore.
“This project is generally well advanced and likely to be viable. The principle of generating electricity into the local network at the point of use has major benefits for New Zealand. However, the number of potential applications is limited by the number of potential residential properties with adequate wind resources greater than 5 m/sec average. This limitation probably means that a total ultimate market in NZ for the technology
would not be sufficient to meet the criterion of 50% of the output of the Mokihinui scheme.” Steve Goldthorpe
‘Zero Energy Wind House’
“zero energy house concept has a lot to offer but no scaled to problem – how many new houses are being built near the west coast?” Jeanette Fitzsimons
‘Energy Conservation Roof Vent’
“Good tried and true concept, I think the innovation here is the ‘clip-on’ addition to existing houses which has merit.” Tim Wigmore
‘Reduce home use …’
“good comparison of wood burners vs heat pumps but assumed wood burners would run 24/7 all year” Jeanette Fitzsimons
“highly imaginative but doesn’t scale up sufficiently; potential social problems!” Jeanette Fitzsimons
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Tags: wild energy