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he response to New Zealand's

I first sustainable energy fair—

A The Canterbury Sustainable

" rgy Fair—shows that energy ■MI ■pnpnHVHOHnuii s high. Renewable rces are starting to catch tention.

The idea began from a desire to promote our company, Solar Electric Specialists, and to promote the RE industry as a whole. Normal "business" or "home" shows were not entirely suitable to promote solar, wind, or RE. My vision started coming into focus after an email to Richard Perez, asking for advice and help. His reply was totally supportive and to the point—"Do it!" He also referred me to Tehri Parker of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, who was more than helpful. I enlisted the aid of a fellow enthusiast, Arthur Williamson, and other volunteers.

Busy Weekend

The two-day exhibit was held on the grounds of Cashmere High School in Christchurch, in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. It brought together suppliers, educators, and environmental advocates to showcase the future of energy conservation and efficiency. Approximately 1,000 people attended the event on January 27 and 28, 2001. It was a busy weekend of promotions, displays, and talks.

Promoters of sustainable alternatives were on hand to explain both the technical capabilities and the applications of a range of systems. These included

Author and co-host, John Veix of Solar Electric Specialists, outside the main tent.

solar-electric (photovoltaic), wind generation, solar thermal (hot water), and microhydro systems.

Mostly clear skies and a gusty wind blowing through the grounds provided ideal conditions to demonstrate the solar and wind generation systems. Displays included several electric vehicles, Stirling engines, a solar cooker, energy efficient lighting, and an energy efficient freezer.

Positive Response

The response to the fair was encouraging. There is no doubt that people are becoming interested in sustainable energy. There is a very high awareness of the international decline of the oil market, the California electricity crisis, greenhouse gas emissions, the ratification of the Kyoto protocol, and the rising of earth's temperatures. People are actively seeking information and solutions. The fair enabled them to see a good cross section of emerging technologies.

The fair attracted people who were already quite informed, as well as many more who were just starting to become informed of the wider issues. The exhibitors benefited from being in a specialised show, and were impressed with the attendees. This demonstrated that the timing of the fair was extremely appropriate.

A cut-away model of an efficient home, on loan from Environment Canterbury, helped with design, efficiency, and technological education.

The Shell Renewables "Explorer," promoting awarness of renewable and sustainable technologies, was a hit with the public.

I was also impressed by the willingness of exhibitors who had reserved space but couldn't make it, and donated their site fees "because they wanted to give their support to the industry." Other institutions, companies, and individuals lent display items that helped to fill the fair and arouse interest.

A cut-away model of an efficient home, on loan from Environment Canterbury, helped with design, efficiency, and technological education.

Among the positive comments, one visitor noted that it was "nice to attend such an event where there are so many experts. Where else can you go to have your queries answered on renewable energy?" A large number of first-day attendees returned the second day. They came back to attend some of the one-hour talks on issues such as biomass generation, solar-electric systems, solar hot water, and energy efficient buildings. From the response of the public, it appears that this should become a regular event. Plans are underway for next year's fair, to be held at about the same time of year.

Renewable Future

The fair was not as big as the ones in the United States. But it was a start, and the important thing is that you have to start somewhere. A year ago, it was just an idea and a dream, and then it became a reality. The support of sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors, and attendees demonstrated a commitment to renewable energy for future generations in New Zealand.


John Veix, fair co-organiser, Solar Electric Specialists Ltd., PO Box 6302, Christchurch, New Zealand 025-576527 (cell) or 0064-3-342-8767 [email protected]

Arthur Williamson, fair co-organiser, Thermocell Ltd., PO Box 12-205, Christchurch, New Zealand Phone/Fax: 0064-3-381-2033 [email protected]


Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), Ian Shearer, PO Box 388, Wellington, New Zealand 0064-4-470-2214 • Fax: 0064-4-499-5330 [email protected]

Environment Canterbury, Chris Macann, PO Box 345, Christchurch, New Zealand • 0064-3-365-3828 Fax: 0064-3-365-3194 • [email protected]

Mainpower New Zealand Ltd., Peter Hurford, PO Box 346, Rangiora, New Zealand • 0064-3-313-9980 Fax: 0064-3-313 2784 • [email protected]

Orion New Zealand Ltd., Roger Sutton, PO Box 13896, Christchurch, New Zealand • 0064-3-363-9846 Fax: 0064-3-363-9899 • [email protected]

Shell New Zealand Ltd. (Renewables), Antonius Papaspiropoulos, PO Box 2091, Wellington, New Zealand • 0064-4-498-0380 • Fax: 0064-4-498-0113 [email protected]

Christchurch City Council, Target Zero, Christine Byrch, PO Box 237, Christchurch, New Zealand 0064-3-371-1487 • Fax: 0064-3-371-1786 [email protected]

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