Renewable energy to be sole power source for Yackandandah

LEFT: Matthew Charles-Jones on his roof where he has had solar panels installed. He is encouraging others to reduce energy usage by installing panels in their own homes too. Picture: TARA GOONAN

LEFT: Matthew Charles-Jones on his roof where he has had solar panels installed. He is encouraging others to reduce energy usage by installing panels in their own homes too. Picture: TARA GOONAN

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YACKANDANDAH is aiming to become Australia’s first town to operate off 100 per cent renewable energy.

The community group Totally Renewable Yackandandah is the driving force behind the initiative and has taken the first steps towards achieving its goal by 2022.

Committee member Matthew Charles-Jones said 2014-24 has been nominated by the United Nations as the decade of renewable energy and they would start working towards their target by informing people.

“At this stage we want to provide information on how to save energy because the less you use, the less you need to generate.

“Things like making sure unused appliances and lighting are turned off and improving thermal performance with insulation and shade in buildings.”

The committee formed at an energy forum hosted by Indigo Shire in March and will be encouraging Yackandandah residents to install their own solar.

But for those who can’t yet afford it they are suggesting alternatives.

“There are electricity retailers within Victoria that are already selling 100 per cent renewable electricity, so right now people could transfer to become renewable by buying through those retailers,” he said.

While the concept of wholly renewable townships is unheard of in Australia, it has been achieved in the German village Wildpoldsried where they produce more than 300 per cent of their electricity needs from clean energy.

Yackandandah has already began following this example, it sits well above the national average with 24 per cent of roofs having solar panels.

Mr Charles-Jones said the future of renewable energy supply was not only within the community but on a much larger scale.

Indi MP Cathy McGowan has praised the forward thinking of the town and has taken its story to Canberra.

“Rural Australia holds the answer to Australia’s energy provisions and Yackandandah is leading the way,” Ms McGowan said.

“They are showing how communities can get their act together around renewable energy and it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to grow businesses.”

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