What Is Possible?
Since 2007 the public/political debate around sustainability degenerated into polarized political positions which appear to be separated from reality. Yet at an individual level people have the good sense to ignore the politics and get on with life. Adoption of solar PV systems has continued unabated with roof top systems contributing more than 3MW of power into the grid.
With Tesla’s introduction of home energy storage people are getting really excited about being independent of power monopolies.
But if we could cut through the political fog; What is possible?
Here are a few examples:
Things are happening in the beautiful New England NSW town of Uralla. There is an obvious pride in the town which is visible to travellers. The town has a lovely streets-cape, good coffee shops and a great second hand bookstore. I’m sure it has more to offer but these are the first impressions of a traveller passing through.
It was great to hear a little while ago that Uralla had been chosen to work with Moreland Energy Foundation (the Victorian NGO that won the tender to put together a plan). Uralla is to use local renewable energy resources, energy management and storage technologies to generate at least 100 per cent of the town’s energy needs. It’s exciting to see that Uralla could well be the first Australian zero net energy town (ZNET).
I’ve never bought into the Australia vs New Zealand rivalry myself, or the Sydney vs Melbourne ‘slanging’ match. As it so happens, I have family in all these locations and I feel at home wherever I am. But at the risk of inflaming passions I have to give New Zealand credit for being great innovators. Even so I was surprised to find that even one of New Zealand’s biggest companies and largest energy supplier (Vector) seems way ahead of the game. They have a comprehensive strategy to use renewable energy, metering, demand management, local storage and strategies to minimise network losses. Not just one initiative but the whole package! What caught my eye recently was the Renew Economy article about Vector’s plan to give away 100 solar/storage packages to deserving customers. It’s all part of testing and modelling how the new home storage technologies can fit into the grid. Well done!