Smart Energy Challenge open for submissions

15 January 2015

Wellington-based initiative brings to life community-driven smart energy ideas.

Last year’s Smart Energy Challenge participants Miranda Voke and Oliver ter Ellen from Aro Solar.

Applications are now open for the Smart Energy Challenge 2015. The initiative, now in its second year, is a partnership between Wellington City Council and Enspiral to develop and fund a variety of community-driven projects that make better use of energy.

The programme aims to bring together collaborative partners from across sectors including the youth-based climate change group Generation Zero, crowdfunding platform PledgeMe, and financial advisory firm Deloitte.

“It’s great to see partner organisations from different parts of our community come together to address climate change. Only by fostering those connections are we able to have an impact,” says Wellington City Councillor David Lee.

The programme will help successful applicants take their projects from idea to real-life through a series of workshops, community events, mentoring and networking opportunities taking place in March.

The projects then launch individual public crowdfunding campaign. The Council will match-fund the amount each project raises, capped at a total of $25,000 across all successful projects.

Chelsea Robinson, last year’s programme manager, said: “The Smart Energy Challenge is a great example of a programme that can lead to something bigger. Not only did the Aro Solar team put panels on the roof of the Aro Valley Community Hall, but they’ve gone on to the Ideas for a Better New Zealand / Live the Dream summer programme with their project.”

The Smart Energy Challenge is an initiative funded by the Council’s Smart Energy Capital Programme. Last year’s pilot project won the Renewables Innovation category at the 2014 Sustainable Business Network Awards.

Applications are open from 15 January and close on Sunday 15 February at midnight. The challenge is open for ideas and projects that benefit Wellington City and its residents and visitors.

“Cities must rise to the challenge of climate change,” says Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “The Wellington City Council encourages innovative citizen-led solutions.”

To register for the launch event, held on 5 February in a central Wellington location (to be confirmed), apply for the challenge and find out more information go to smartenergychallenge.org.nz