On Thursday, August 8, 350 Tāmaki Makaurau joined other local 350 groups across Aotearoa in calling for a fast and just transition to 100% renewable electricity. This event was part of a series of actions coordinated by 350 Aotearoa as part of the national Homegrown Energy campaign. This campaign calls on local and central government to take action and enable 100% renewable, homegrown energy across the motu.
Four weeks out from the local body elections 350 Tāmaki Makaurau set up a polling station outside Auckland Council to ask “Do you support community-led renewable energy?”. Results showed that 96% of people voted ‘Yes’, which included 27 votes from Auckland city council staff. 350 Tāmaki Makaurau will poll more Aucklanders this Saturday, August 10 in the central city and during the rest of the election period to push community energy projects to the top of the new Council’s agenda.
Alysha Jurgeleit, a student and member of 350 Tāmaki Makaurau said: “The percentage of renewable energy in our electricity grid peaked in the 1970s, and our reliance on coal and gas has increased since! It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right leadership from Auckland council, we could see community-led renewable energy projects popping up across the city. These will steer our city towards 100% renewable energy and keep power bills low!”
Another 350 Tāmaki Makaurau volunteer, Hasini Wanigasuriya, commented: “Did you know that in the past 30 years, household power bills have risen by 79%, while commercial rates have dropped by 24%. Unsurprisingly, the people I encountered during this action were really devastated about high power bills. We need Auckland communities to be handed back control over the electricity they use in their homes and day-to-day lives. Let’s not leave it up to big, greedy corporations. The clean energy revolution is happening all over the world. It’s high-time we joined in!”
Actions were also planned in Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Papaioea, Pōneke, and Ōtepoti.
350 Aotearoa Executive Director Alva Feldmeier said, “Unfortunately, many of our large gentailers are trying to hold back new renewable energy initiatives, for by example squatting on windfarm consents and actively preventing renewables from being built. There is not a level playing field for communities wanting to be involved in the homegrown energy revolution.
Small energy retailers and small energy generators have great difficulty competing with the Gentailer Monopoly and as a result, have often gone bankrupt. We know that our people-power movement can play a critical role in exposing the broken energy system and calling for just and equitable homegrown energy solutions. “