The village of Tyalgum is hard to locate on a map, but it’s getting so much attention recently because they are planning to completely disconnect from the grid according to the BBC News.
The 300 residents of Tyalgum, located on the rolling hills near Queensland-New South Wales border, are fond of saying their town is beautiful every day of the year. And if everything goes according to plan, soon this little town in a region famous for its non-conformist lifestyle could be the first place in Australia to get off the electricity grid and keep the lights on 24-7 using 100% renewable energy.
The idea was presented in September 2014 by the local businessman Andrew Price, a 10-year renewable energy industry veteran who heads the company Australian Radio Towers. Mr. Price said that the power is affordable, it is reliable and currently, solar is about as green or renewable as anything else in the market today. Cutting an entire town off the grid also makes a stand and statement to the country that this can be done, it’s achievable and it needs to be done.
First – sustainability issues are close to the town’s heart. Tyalgum has been engaged in a continuous battle to stop fracking in the region and community support for any environmentally friendly projects run deep. The town also happens to lie at the very end of the electricity grid, meaning, it can be disconnected without disturbing energy supply to neighbouring communities.
Second – there’s Tyalgum’s economic makeup. The town is dependent on tourism and there are few stable jobs, so electricity bills hit the locals hard.
According to Mr. Price, the 300 residents of Tyalgum collectively spend $700,000 every year on electricity, with 55% of that going to wires and pole maintenance.
Installation of the solar systems, complete with the solar PVs and battery storage is expected to start in October.
Featured Image Credit: Rudraksha | EQUITI