A model to help townships design a better shift to 100% clean energy consumption as well as zero-emission cities, has been initiated on the New South Wales Northern Tablelands.
The plan was launched in Uralla by Environment Minister Mark Speakman. Spokespersons from the town have been working on the Zero Net Energy Town Blueprint, a documentationthat will be used to assist towns as they go ‘off the grid’ and become energy self-sufficient, for more than one year.
Director of local renewable energy association Starfish Initiatives, Adam Blakester, stated that it is stimulated by towns in Germany and North America that generate most or majority of their electricity from clean energy.
He said it has brought national and international interest to the town.
“This really is an example of ‘Think Global, Act Local,’ and the kind of expertise that we’re leveraging is very specialised,” he said.
“While Uralla is the focus of this first plan and first use of the Z-NET Blueprint there’s an enormous number of people involved from beyond Uralla as well.”
Mr Blakester stated that the Blueprint is incredibly concise and comes with work that can be carried out at a residential standard, which includes installation of energy efficient light bulbs and on-site electricity generation.
“They could get as far as 70% of the 100% target from that grouping of measures alone,” he said.
“The second stage of the Blueprint is a decision for the town as to whether they want to have a go at building some kind of small renewable energy power station or whether they want to tap into the renewable energy market.”
The Blueprint is anticipated to be developed by approximately two dozen other towns all over Australia.
“With the structure, the financial and energy modelling tools that have been built, there’s an extraordinary amount of intellectual property that’s been put into this,” Mr Blakester said.
“There’s towns like Uralla right across the country and as surveys show anywhere upwards of 75% to 80% of Australians want renewable energy.”
The State Government has already invested over $100,000 into the initiation and advancement of the Blueprint, and Environment Minister Mark Speakman hasn’t excluded further support in the years ahead.
“We’re aiming to have Uralla generate 40 to 70 per cent of its energy needs within the next five years or so and eventually be energy self-sufficient,” he said.
“This is the only town where the State Government is developing a Zero Net Energy Plan with local stakeholders and we’re hoping other towns will follow suit.”