Venture Southland advocates for awareness of efficient, innovative and environmentally-friendly techniques that mitigate climate change in New Zealand.
Venture Southland’s role in this area has helped Southland establish a leading role in the energy industry with a regionally coordinated approach resulting in the first Energy Assessment for the region being undertaken in 2003, and the development of the Regional Energy Strategy in 2011.
The 2011 Energy Strategy emphasised the need for coordination, new thinking, investment and skills to implement change and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The strategy recognised that waste from industry, such as dairy farms, could be used to provide energy and significantly reduce electricity demand as well as avoid environmental harm. This led to the establishment of the Methane Recovery project which focuses on waste to energy conversion on Southland Dairy farms, and Wood Energy South which promotes the benefits of wood energy.
The strategy also outlined the strategic actions needed to ensure Southland has a secure and cost-effective energy supply and is able to foster community and economic development, alongside a thriving environment.
Environmentally focused projects
It is recognised that education is needed to encourage Southlanders to adopt more efficient technologies and practices when considering future energy availability and making investment decisions, be it as simple as what kind of light fittings to install, or as complex as how to best design a dairy shed, or where to locate new industrial premises.
To encourage this, Venture Southland is involved in a number of environmentally focused initiatives including the recently launched Carbon Neutral Advantage which aims to create a competitive advantage and a healthy environment for future Southland generations.
Being proactive in addressing environment focused issues is critical, because in an energy-scarce future it may be expensive to rectify energy-inefficient decisions – particularly in relation to large capital investments such as buildings.
Investment in energy efficient buildings, renewable energy generation and resource efficiency dramatically enhances business and community resilience and is a key factor in retaining and attracting businesses and residents to the region.