On Wednesday the 9th December, Energise Ōtaki had its last public meeting for the year to look at all that had been achieved in 2020, and look forward to 2021.

2020 has been a difficult year with many disruptions but Energise Ōtaki is very proud of what they have achieved despite the lockdown and other restrictions. In February, it opened an office at 7 Main St which has provided a space where the Ōtaki community can enquire and learn about the organisation and projects that are happening. Four public meetings were held with interesting talks on Future Transport Fuels, Waste to Energy conversion, a conversation with KCDC councillor Sophie Handford. Public meetings for 2021 start on February 10th and bi-monthly from then – nau mai, haere mai, all are welcome to come.

Our ongoing projects had some great successes this year. Two bike events were run by our Ōtaki Bike Space project and around 100 bikes will be given out by the end of the year. Three Repair Cafes were held to much acclaim, fixing broken items and teaching new skills. The Ōtaki Curtain Bank operated all year getting curtains fitted in houses that need them. We also worked with Ōtaki College to create sustainable energy teaching units that help communicate these important subjects to our tamariki. We also started the process of displaying all the renewable energy production from various installations around the town which will be available for the community to see, and for use at the College.

The Rau Kūmara Solar Farm at the Wastewater Treatment Plant was installed and officially opened at the end of September, along with a smaller installation at the College. This is the first New Zealand community based solar farm, and will start providing revenue into the Energise Ōtaki Community Investment Fund, which next year will help fund community sustainable energy and other projects around the town. This was a very exciting project to get set up and opened. We would like to acknowledge Wellington Community Trust for their funding support in this, along with the contribution of KCDC, Ōtaki College and Infratec.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers that have committed time to our projects this year, and as well Kāpti Coast District Council and Ōtaki Community Board, for their ongoing support. Some of our projects need more support, so if you have a couple of hours you could volunteer please get in touch with us to find a project and role to get involved with.
2021 will see Energise Ōtaki continue all its work in the current projects, including the relocation of the physical Ōtaki Bike Space container so that more regular events can be held. Projects being developed in the new year include a housing upgrade project to reduce energy loss and make the homes warmer, exploring battery storage for our solar installations, and beginning an energy recovery from waste pilot project, using pyrolysis and/or anaerobic digestion. The housing project will include a key partner, the Wellington Sustainability Trust, who are central to achieving the funding and delivery of the project.

We’d like to thank Ōtaki for all their support with projects this year, wish you all a lovely summer and we look forward to working with and meeting you in the new year.

Our Main St office will be closed between the 18th December and 11th January. Open 10am-2pm Tues, Wed, Thurs before and after then. Contact us at info@energise.otaki.net.nz at any time.