Tyalgum rides on towards ‘off the grid’ future

ELECTRIC bikes are in the post and the general store is going solar as Northern Rivers town Tyalgum edges towards dropping completely off the grid.

The 300 or so people who call the rural village home have thrown their support behind a dream to create Australia's first township run totally by renewable energy.

Project co-ordinator Kacey Clifford from Australian Radio Towers says that vision is close to realisation.

"We've just bought the general store. We'll have solar panels going on the roof in the next couple of weeks," she said.

"We've also bought five electric bikes provided to us at low cost, and they will be here next week.

"The Tyalgum pub is preparing to put solar panels on its roof.

"So it's all moving ahead."

Talks about getting more electric bikes at a discounted price are also underway.

The idea is gathering momentum with green energy groups inviting Ms Clifford and her team to speak at national conferences and inspire other communities to follow suit.

Locals are eagerly awaiting a council decision on their application to develop the town's old Norco Butter Factory into a natural energy education centre.

"Once that comes through we will get started as quickly as we can," Ms Clifford said.

"It's heritage listed so we have to be careful about how we do it.

"There's a fair way to go but we will see some tangible progress very soon."

Ms Clifford said the plan originally met scepticism but has since captured the community's heart.

That was certainly the case for Charlie Sleeman who works at the town's general store.

"It's proved to everyone that it is possible to go out there and realise an idea," he said.

"We'll be renting out the bikes to tourists and locals alike.

"We'll provide them with a bike map so they can go sightseeing to different locations near Tyalgum - the old cemetery, lookouts and places like that."


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