Tyalgum hopes to go totally off the grid using renewable energy sources
Tyalgum hopes to go totally off the grid using renewable energy sources Trevor Veale

Tyalgum may pull the plug

TYALGUM has set a course to use 100% renewable energy across the township, and to potentially disconnect from grid- sourced power entirely.

The Tyalgum Energy Project could achieve energy independence within three to five years, according to project co-ordinator Kacey Clifford.

Completely off the grid

Despite having the chance to be Australia's first town to run completely off renewable energy, the focus was on a slow and steady approach, she said.

The first step is to get the local school running on renewable energy via a crowd-funding project next year.

A small-scale project would help show the Tyalgum community of 120 households how the benefits of going renewable were not isolated to the energy sector.

"Benefits can be spread across the community," she said.

"The school can reduce its power bills by going solar, and these savings can then be used for other programs, like cricket, music or dram development."

Small scale project

Achieving this small-scale project would "give people confidence in what we are doing," she said.

A $15,000 grant from the State Government earlier in the year really gave the project momentum.

The money was assigned to local company Australian Radio Towers, which is helping to drive the project.

The money has been used to create a blueprint for the community's energy independence goal prepared by expert consultants.

The plan involves households installing their own solar and storage systems as well as the potential for a community developed renewable energy source, such as a solar array close to town.

Developing the plans also had its own responsibilities, Ms Clifford said.

Cheaper power

The new power regime would have to be able to provide cheaper power than the grid as well as adequate reliability of supply.

"There has to be a back-up. People are entitled to a level of reliability," she said.

Organising a management system to co-ordinate power usage and to create a billing system would also need to be created as part of the project's development.

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