Local student is putting together attitudes towards energy project

Uralla Shire Resident and University of QLD student Lauren Zell is putting together a unique snapshot of grassroots attitudes towards local energy projects.

“I want to know what people think; how they really feel about the energy projects on their doorstep. Completing a short online survey will help to understand local views, for or against our energy projects,” Ms Zell said.

Ms Zell has worked in a regional energy efficiency advisory role for many years and is a Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Committee Member.

She is currently undertaking a specialised Masters in Energy at the University of Queensland. The survey will contribute to her thesis, a report and ultimately, greater understanding of public perceptions and attitudes regarding energy projects in the Northern Inland region.

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“Hopefully, my report will better inform politicians at all levels, government departments, as well as the proponents of energy projects and impacted communities, in this region and beyond.”

“Within a 250km radius of Uralla, we have wind farms, solar farms, coal seam gas, pumped hydro, bioenergy, coal and proposed large scale battery storage.  My Master’s thesis is focused on the “Energy hub” that the Northern Inland region has become.

The budding energy industry has already injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the regional economy of the Northern Inland region and the sustainability plusses put us in great stead for the future. However, the likes of aesthetic, environmental and health concerns deserve to be heard and considered,” Ms Zell said.

 “You would be pressed to find another region in NSW or even Australia that has such a diversity of energy projects. We have wind farms, solar farms, coal seam gas, pumped hydro, bio-energy, coal and proposed large scale battery storage.

We have great solar insolation, excellent wind, geographic head (height needed for hydro), thermal coal and gas reserves, transmission and distribution and we also available grid capacity. We also have decentralised generation sites, at end of line. It all explains why this region is uniquely positioned to be identified as a NSW Government Renewable Energy priority zone.”

“The Northern Inland region is abuzz with energy production. If you live in Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Inverell, Bingara, Guyra, Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Quirindi, Narrabri or Moree, you are probably aware of one or two projects near you. We actually have an average of three energy projects for each of these significant urban centres! There are at least 29 energy projects that are publicly proposed, under construction or operating within the area,” Ms Zell said.

Lauren Zell is asking anyone who lives in the above towns or cities to complete a five-minute survey on which energy projects they would prefer to be built in their Local Council Area (LGA), as well as what energy models they would like to see become a priority within their regional community.

"It could be local towns with electric vehicles, micro grids or zero net emission towns or LGAs,” she said.

To contribute to this important regional study, click here  or find Lauren Zell on Facebook where she will have the link for the survey - look for Lauren Energy Gal Zell.