The Energise Ōtaki vision involves action across many areas: reducing electricity consumption; reducing reliance on fossil fuels; giving people choices about what energy they consume and how they purchase it, how it is generated and how they can reduce their overall energy use and household costs. It involves local clean energy generation. On the way, the town will reduce its contribution to long-term human-induced climate change. It is a holistic social, environmental and economic vision built around the idea of sustainable development, crafted to fit the Ōtaki culture and way of doing things.
Seven broad Focus Areas for Action have been identified.
The vision is advanced through community involvement in projects, large and small. The idea is not owned by any one group but relies on individuals, businesses and organisations becoming involved.
What we want to achieve on the way
- All Ōtaki households, organisations and businesses take action in some way to conserve and produce energy.
- Average residential energy use per capita declines year on year.
- Local clean energy production increases year on year.
- Emissions of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in Ōtaki declines year on year
- No-one is living in energy poverty in Ōtaki.
- Jobs in energy conservation and clean energy generation are created in Ōtaki.
- Ōtaki is internationally recognised as a town where research on energy conservation action and local scale clean energy production can be advanced in partnership with the community.
- People have fun on the way to achieving the vision.
The environmental, social, economic and cultural effects of climate change are a major driver for action under the Energise Ōtaki umbrella. Any community should be doing what it can to reduce the impacts on fundamental life-supporting systems and reducing the harm and disruption that we know will occur as climate change impacts start to be felt. A community that takes action now will be well-placed for the future. Energise Ōtaki supports and is a participant in the recent Low Carbon Kāpiti initiative and network.
Dealing with Energy Poverty
Energy poverty is the phrase used to describe households who cannot afford to fund a basic level of heating sufficient to maintain the health of their members. When low income is coupled with New Zealand’s poorly insulated housing, there are very real problems.
The Ōtaki community has a relatively large number of low income households and a large older housing stock. It would be easy to ignore this problem and simply focus on energy use reduction.
Energise Ōtaki recognises that energy conservation poorer households may actually increase their energy use as they have more disposable income to spend on basic energy needs. The idea of essential energy use sufficient to maintain health is a fundamental part of the Energise Ōtaki vision.
At the end of each year a brief report on what has been achieved in terms of clean energy generation and energy conservation will be reported on the site. The ‘Greenchip Report’ provides a baseline estimate of energy use in Ōtaki in 2012 and greenhouse gas emissions.