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Night skies key part of draft Energy Plan

Night skies key part of draft Energy Plan

Dunedin is aiming for the stars.

A plan to showcase Dunedin’s amazing night skies while saving ratepayers money is one of the first actions proposed under the draft Energy Plan 1.0.

Dunedin is poised to take advantage of economic opportunities around energy use and efficiency. The draft Plan is an action under Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy and has the commitment of the five Strategy partners.

Grow Dunedin Partnership Chair Chris Staynes says, “Many businesses and households are spending about 10% of their income on energy, and that’s a handbrake on our economic growth. We’ve got some really innovative businesses and groups here that are primed to help businesses and households through the maze of energy choices and technology, such as what outdoor lighting would be best.”

LED lighting technology is creating a lot of change in the way we light our outdoor spaces. This will save money and reveal Dunedin’s spectacular night skies – another tourist attraction for the city.

“There’s already a real buzz about the draft Energy Plan’s Night Sky City action. That’s about using the revolution in LED lighting technology to create world-class stargazing locations around the city, as well as creating attractive night time streetscapes. That could include lighting up particular areas of the city if there’s an event. The revolutionary part is that we can do that and save our energy dollars at the same time.”

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A public discussion evening will be held at the Otago Museum from 5.30pm to 7pm on Wednesday, 7 October. One highlight will be Museum Director Dr Ian Griffin presenting one of his popular talks on Dunedin’s Night Sky City.

The Economic Development Strategy is governed by the Grow Dunedin Partnership. The key partners are the Dunedin City Council, Ngāi Tahu, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, the Otago Polytechnic, the Otago Southland Employers’ Association and the University of Otago.

Mr Staynes says energy is on the agenda under the Strategy’s alliances for innovation theme. Grow Dunedin partners and other organisations have committed to an Energy Leaders’ Accord to drive Dunedin’s energy economy. That might be about investing in high tech woodchip boilers or electric vehicles, or pursuing opportunities for joint procurement.

Mr Christie says there are many opportunities for Dunedin businesses to benefit from the draft Energy Strategy. These include reduced costs and improved efficiencies, along with the potential new businesses that will be established to provide energy related services and products.

“Dunedin is well placed to work with local tertiary institutes and entrepreneurs to bring new energy efficient products and services to the market.”

There are two other actions under the draft Energy Plan. One is to work with local businesses to make every Dunedin home warm and cosy by 2025 – the Cosy Homes initiative.

The other is the Energy Fast Track action which is about helping energy start-ups and innovators to get off the ground.

Mr Staynes says, “We want to get some early runs on the board with practical projects that our partners are committed to seeing through, before moving on to new challenges.”

Consultation on the draft Energy Plan 1.0 closes on Friday, 16 October. For more information and to make a submission visit www.dunedin.govt.nz/energyplan or view the draft plan at the Customer Services Centre in the Civic Centre, or Dunedin Public Libraries and Services Centres.

ENDS

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