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May 7, 2021

Sustainable energy – Going places!

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Sustainable energy is no longer a thing of the future, as across the globe countries make the switch from petrol to electrically powered cars and Byron and Tweed Shire councils are getting on board with their Power Up strategy.

Britain and France have recently implemented legislation to ban all non-electric car sales by 2040, primarily due to the enormous public health risk posed by the the rising levels of nitrogen oxide. China, the biggest car manufacturing company in the world, is expected to follow soon after.

Despite this, Australia is falling significantly behind, with electric car sales plummeting 23 per cent between 2015 and 2016, and making up only 0.1 per cent of the overall car sales in 2016, according to a report published in October 2017 on the ABC News website.

‘This is largely due to the lack of charging stations in Australia’, a press release by the NRMA in October 2017 reports.

‘You would be hard pressed to take your electric car on holiday, with only fifty charging stations in Australia, eleven of them in New South Wales.’

Local councils working together

Locally, both Byron Bay and Knockrow Castle have implemented electric charging stations, with the hopes of encouraging electric car sales and improving accessibility for those who already own an electric car.

Tweed Shire Council is also getting on board and working with Byron Shire Council to provide more fast charge points around the region, specifically targeting locations along popular tourist routes. 

Similarly, the NRMA has plans to establish around forty new electric charging stations across NSW. This would prospectively increase electric car sales, and more money going into the market would result in a wider range of electric cars available.

Tweed Shire Councillor Chris Cherry said ‘Electric vehicles already have a range of more than 500 kilometres and people overseas are jumping on board with this technology’.

Councils across the Northern Rivers have resolved to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleets and the Power Up strategy will allow work to start on building the charging infrastructure needed to make a true transition to more sustainable transport options.

Macadamia Castle

A spokesperson from the Macadamia Castle said: ‘The charging station is an asset to both the community and anyone who has an electric car. We’re getting about fifty people a week using the stations, and while it has only increased business in a small way it’s definitely been worthwhile, for us at least.’

Byron Shire Mayor Councillor Simon Richardson said electric cars are a great choice for environmentally conscious people because they have zero greenhouse emissions and low operating costs.

‘If more of these stations are installed along popular routes and tourist spots people can travel confidently knowing they will be able to get to their destination,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘It will also be an incentive for more local people to invest in electric cars and that would be a great thing for our environment.’

The Byron Bay charging station was opened in February, in the parking lot next to the Byron Bay library, and mayor Simon Richardson excitedly welcomed the initiative stating that it was another strong commitment to future proof Byron Shire with savings for the longer term.

‘A key barrier to electric vehicle uptake is ‘range anxiety’ or the fear of not being about to get home. Having a fast charging station in Byron Bay and hopefully in the other major towns, will help allay those fears and enable people to seriously consider this zero emissions transport option.’

So, while Australia might currently be behind in the global race for sustainable cars, all signs point towards Australia slowly but surely catching up to Britain, China and France.

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