Although Uralla, Australia is a small town, population 2,388 (2011), it is planning to use it’s size as an advantage. The town is located in New South Wales and has been chosen as the first Australian city to become a net zero community. The city and it’s residents have begun undertaking plans to become a decentralized, off-grid town, producing 100% of their energy needs via local renewable energy generation.
The strategy is based upon first reducing the energy needs of the town via energy efficiency upgrades to buildings and infrastructure, user behavior changes geared towards minimizing personal and household energy usage and increasing the amount of local renewable energy produced in Uralla to provide for all of the community’s energy demand. The company assisting the town with planning has worked on projects in Germany and North America and will continue to work with Uralla’s local government, who credits Uralla’s residents for being selected as the pilot city, as community involvement is highly relied upon to reach the net zero and 100% RE goals.
The ZNET plan focuses on stationary energy, the transportation sector is not figured into the planning process, so the focus on renewable energy generation is central to the success of the plan. It is estimated that the plan will take 5-10 years for completion and will be focused on integrating renewable energy technologies throughout the study period as the current trends in efficiency and cost continue to make renewable energy technology more accessible.
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