The NSW Town Going for Zero Net Energy

Uralla has been selected for a pilot project that equips the town with a $10 million grant to transform the town into a role model for sustainable energy use.

After being granted a $105,000 grant by the joint forces of the NSW State Government and ZNET Consortium, Uralla has begun working alongside the Moreland Energy Foundation to establish using local renewable energy resources and innovative storage technologies which will theoretically generate, at a minimum, 100 per cent of the town’s energy needs.

Uralla is already known for its forward thinking environmental stance. In early 2014, it received a $120,000 dollar grant to reduce litter as part of a State government campaign to make NSW the tidiest state. It also participated in a “Love food, hate waste’ campaign which was designed to encourage residents, particularly school aged children, to recycle their green waste.

The plan has benefits on all different levels; not only will it cut power bills for the town’s residents and businesses, but it will also provide a framework for how to approach a more state-wide implementation of renewable energy options. Climate change is an increasingly pressing international issue, and implementing localised methods of dealing with it as is underway in Uralla is one huge way of fighting for our planet’s future.

It seems that this is the only sensible step forward. If financially and technologically feasible options can be created on a local scale, communities can become either completely or almost entirely self-sustaining. This would result in non-renewable energy resources can be slowly but surely eradicated or at least significantly reduced.

In a country with such vast natural energy resources and such geographical differentiation, this model of localised renewable energy sources suits Australia to a tee. The collaborative approach is scheduled to be reviewed in June of this year, and if estimates are correct, will take seven to ten years to fully implement. Other Australian towns are taking note and developing their own 100 per cent renewable plans, including Lismore, Yackandandah and Newstead in Victoria.

If all goes to plan, Australian towns will be at the forefront of energy revolution for regional areas.

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