Later this month, Ara Ake, Community Energy Network, Waitara Initiatives Supporting Employment (WISE) Charitable Trust and Taranaki Chamber of Commerce are bringing the Reducing Energy Hardship Conference to New Plymouth.

Supported by Powerco, Todd Energy, OMV and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Conference will be held across two days at the Devon Hotel in New Plymouth on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 May 2023.

“We’re thrilled to welcome those from across the motu and the globe to connect as we explore how we can collaborate to eliminate energy hardship, promote sustainability and push forward with more community energy projects,” says Ara Ake chief executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes.

The conference aims to tackle the issue of energy hardship in Aotearoa New Zealand by bringing together national and international stakeholders with diverse backgrounds to discuss community-based solutions to this problem. The conference will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, and an interactive workshop, to generate ideas and strategies for addressing energy hardship.

“Energy hardship is a major challenge facing many communities across Aotearoa, and Community Energy Network members have successfully minimised energy hardship over the years, however, we are hoping this conference will accelerate the elimination of it that will in turn support our communities to become more resilient,” says Community Energy Network executive officer, Gareth Cartwright.

Topics of discussion will include practical approaches to identifying energy hardship and various perspectives of those experiencing it, different initiatives in Aotearoa that are underway to eliminate energy hardship, the launch of the Ara Ake Community Energy How-to Guide, and community energy projects underway in Aotearoa and internationally.

“With many households struggling to pay their energy bills, and some forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table, this Conference will provide a platform to encourage action among all those dedicated to promoting sustainable energy, building resilient communities and healthy homes,” says WISE general manager, Paul Scouller.

The event is expected to have a high turnout, with a diverse range of attendees and speakers, with representatives from the community, industry, iwi, local and central government, and investors.

“We’re thrilled to be co-hosting this national conference on such an important issue in Taranaki. It will allow our local businesses to be educated further on how they can unlock their potential in addressing this pressing problem,” says Taranaki Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Arun Chaudhari.

Space is limited, so registration is essential. To purchase tickets, please visit the Eventbrite listing.

The conference will be recorded, and the recording will be made available online following the event. For more information, please click here.