Clear Expression of Electric ZEN aims

We need to agree on a clear expression of our aims, both for public consumption and for our internal activities. I offer the following as drafts, in three different lengths as required for different purposes.

Single sentence

ZENe works to ensure that by 2026 Noosa as a whole will produce an amount of clean electricity greater than the total amount of electricity it consumes over the course of each year.

Single paragraph

ZENe works to ensure that by 2026 Noosa as a whole will produce an amount of clean electricity greater than the total amount of electricity it consumes over the course of each year. Noosa will achieve this through a combination of reduced electricity waste, improved efficiency, and greatly expanded use of rooftop solar, particularly by business, commercial, and tourism operators. Any additional electricity production required will be met by a solar farm(s) which may be located outside the Noosa LGA.

Backgrounder version

ZENe works to ensure that by 2026 Noosa as a whole will produce an amount of clean electricity greater than the total amount of electricity it consumes over the course of each year.

Noosa will achieve this by adopting and expanding a number of practices, listed here in the approximate order of priority beginning with the easiest, cheapest, and quickest:

  • reduced electricity waste through improved management of air conditioning, lighting, shading and insulation, pool management, and efficient water heating
  • increased efficiency through the use of better lighting, air conditioning, pumping, and water heating technology, along with certain behaviour changes to boost the impact of these changes. (We acknowledge that there is significant overlap between waste reduction and increased efficiency.)
  • on-site energy production, mainly rooftop solar, especially on business premises. A majority of businesses use the bulk of their electricity during daylight hours. There is great scope for business operators to reduce their electricity expense by 80% or more while eliminating most of their demand for grid electricity.
  • a solar farm or farms will make up any shortfall. Such farms may well be located outside of the Noosa LGA, where land is cheaper and sunnier than any site within Noosa. Such farms might be owned by local community associations, by investors, or by the Noosa Council. We take no initial position on which ownership model is best but will be advised by the community.
  • batteries and storage: we do not now aim to prescribe how storage will be used. We know that storage will play a role, but we take the view that individual households and businesses will make their own decisions about storage, and that these will be greatly affected by government policies which are entirely unpredictable.
  • other factors: we acknowledge a number of complicating factors. A small but growing portion of grid electricity is already clean, for example. A growing number of households and businesses will disconnect from the grid entirely; the ultimate effect of these departures is not known. The number of electric vehicles in Noosa by 2026 is hard to predict. There will be other surprise  factors we have not anticipated. Acknowledging all of these uncertainties, we believe that producing more electricity than we consume can only have positive effects.

Contributed by Joe Shlegeris

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