Cleantech – A stumble along the way

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 Four years ago, with much fanfare, KCDC and Grow Wellington launched the Cleantech Park in Miro Street. GW, the Wellington economic development agency recently announced withdrawal of backing. This was not unexpected, but is a sad indictment of how Otaki often gets treated.

All is not lost, however. KCDC has staunchly supported the concept of a Research & Technology focussed industrial park as a source of entrepreneurship, talent and economic development of tomorrow’s knowledge economy. Grow Wellington’s exit represents the inability of the capital city to get in behind Kapiti. A body blow, but one that Otaki will recover from.

What’s been achieved in four years?

Quite a lot really. Some of the original tenants of the GW building are still there, some taking Cleantech concepts and made them work.

Blended Fuels, working with Otaki College have commercialised an ingenious emulsified fuel solution to diesel engines, which powers the buses round town, and is undergoing evaluation on the Cook Strait ferries.

KCDC’s Electric Rubbish truck, produced by Zero Emission Vehicles glides silent round the district collecting rubbish. No noise, no pollution.

ENTYRE tyre recycling are starting up a massive recycling plant in Riverbank Road.

WELTEC ran a successful carpentry course with Little Greenie, demonstrating how energy-efficient building practices can be integrated.

UCOL have started a Level 4 Sustainable Carpentry course in Stuart Pritchard’s new Cleantech building. It’s a one year course, offering an introduction to a building apprenticeship. UCOL’s spokesman said they’re delighted with the support from Otaki College and KCDC.

Silaca Glass Crushers are making an impact with their innovative bottle recycling.

Energise Otaki, a local brains trust is making progress towards Otaki becoming a sustainable net exporter of clean energy, ‘Helping Ourselves to A Smart Future’ is their motto. They have joint venture with Otaki College that is looking very interesting.

The future for Otaki’s drive into Clean Technology is clouded by Grow Wellington’s withdrawal. The existing enterprises have rallied round, forming a new Association of New Zealand Clean Technology Industries (ANZCTI) Chairperson Tina Wilks spoke optimistically of the future: “With KCDC’s support and leadership from Stuart Pritchard and his Clean Technology Park, we can see things moving forward for Clean Technology in Otaki.”