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Powering Gisborne into the future

8 August


Powering Gisborne into the future

• Innovative new ‘energy hub’ to open in Gisborne
• A community space where everyone can share their ideas for powering the region
• Emerging technologies, solar trial learnings and EVs to be showcased

The Gisborne region is set to lead the way in emerging technologies, with the establishment of an innovative new community-focused energy hub. Electric Village is being developed by infrastructure company Eastland Group, which operates Eastland Generation, Eastland Port, Gisborne Airport and Eastland Network, the electricity network for Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast.

Electric Village will open at 37 Gladstone Road, Gisborne in the next couple of months.

“The energy sector is undergoing rapid change,” said Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd. “From personal solar generation to batteries, electric bikes and cars, emerging technologies could have significant benefits for our community, both economically and environmentally.

“It’s essential that we start the conversation now, and talk about what’s happening internationally and could happen here. We want to understand what people think about the future of energy, and how they see our region being powered in the coming years and decades.”

Mr Todd described Electric Village as “a genuinely village-like concept and approach, a dedicated place where everyone in the community is welcome to drop in and share their ideas.”

A one-stop-shop for energy ideas and advice

Electric Village will showcase interactive exhibitions and information about the past, present and future of energy technology. Electric bikes and vehicles will be another highlight, along with findings from the company’s local solar trials.

People will also be able to talk about their own electricity usage, and get practical, easy to action advice on how to make homes more energy efficient.

The region’s first high speed electric vehicle charger, which will offer free charging for six months, is located just a few steps away.

Ongoing conversations with the community

Earlier this year, Eastland Group hosted a number of workshops with locals, to learn more about their interest in new energy.

“They told us that Gisborne and the wider Tairāwhiti region is ideally placed to become a leading light in the adoption of emerging technologies,” explained Mr Todd.

“They said they wanted to know more about electric vehicles, solar generation and the future of the electricity sector.

“They were also very clear that we need to collaborate as a community to develop a vision that we can all work towards.”

Electric Village will be the focal point of these developments and ongoing conversations with the community. A website, Facebook page and other social media platforms will also be launched.

“With Eastland Network, it’s our responsibility to keep the lights on for the region. That responsibility extends to exploring new ways in which Tairāwhiti residents can take advantage of the advances in energy generation, storage and delivery.

“This is an exciting project for us and the community. We’re looking forward to working together towards a bright and innovative future.”

Notes

• It’s estimated that Gisborne spends around $120 million a year on petrol, diesel, repairs and insurance for transport and travel – that’s without even considering the cost of the vehicle. If the total Gisborne fleet moves from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV), up to $60 million every year would stay in the pockets of the people of Gisborne.*

• Eastland Group has committed to ensuring that at least 75% of its non-commercial vehicles are electric by 2019. Eastland Group currently has eight electric and hybrid vehicles in their fleet.

• Eastland Network is the electricity lines company for Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast. They own and maintain the poles, wires and underground cabling used by electricity retailers to supply customers with electricity. Since March 2015, Eastland Network has also owned the region’s high voltage electricity transmission network that connects the region to the national grid.

• In 2016, Eastland Network launched a solar research trial to collect real world data on personal solar generation over a two- to five-year period. Solar panels have been installed on nine homes around the region.


*Sources: Automobile Association, Ministry of Transport, Eastland Group analysis.

ENDS

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