Local Government Magazine

Public / Private funding model wins over judges

WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL’s Smart Energy Challenge wins the Renewables Innovation Award at the 2014 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.

As part of the challenge, council invited social entrepreneurs to come up with community-led projects to help households and businesses save energy and switch to smart energy.

Three community-led teams entered the challenge:
• Aro Solar – a project to install solar PV panels on Aro Valley Community Centre;
• Solair – a project to test a solar heater on social housing; and
• Shyft – a Wellington car-sharing start-up.

The teams learned entrepreneurial and business skills to help refine and eventually implement their ideas. The teams raised money through crowd funding platform PledgeMe, with council matching their crowdfunding efforts dollar-for-dollar.

The challenge was co-designed with Enspiral and PledgeMe, and supported by Generation Zero, Deloitte, Kiwibank, NZ Post and the Sustainability Trust.

The judges say they like the initiative’s ground-breaking public / private funding model. They also like that it encourages a generation of new ideas and collaborative solutions to move towards a low-carbon future.

Candidates can apply in early January 2015 to enter Wellington City Council’s next Smart Energy Challenge. Information and updates will be available in early 2015: www.smartenergychallenge.org.nz

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