Victorian eco-village points the way to a clean energy community

Solar connections in VictoriaVictoria's solar energy initiatives.

A new eco-village in Victoria hopes to set an example for renewable energy and sustainability across Australia.

‘The Paddock’ eco-village project, launched this week, is located in the former gold mining town of Castlemaine.

Its developers aim to “create a new standard for sustainable living that fosters a sense of community and closer connection to nature”.

The self-sustaining hub is the initiative of Geoff Crosby, former keyboardist with Hunters & Collectors, who is now an architect.

All energy supplied by solar panels

The Paddock will consist of 25-30 homes. Around two-thirds of the land will be dedicated to shared food gardens, planted wetlands, native gardens and orchards.

Solar panels will power an eco-village in Castlemaine.

Solar panels will power an eco-village in Castlemaine. Image: Pixabay

The site will not only supply all of its own electricity via solar panels, but generate excess to feed back into the grid.

According to the latest calculations, slightly more electricity will be produced annually than residents will need to power their homes.

Hot water and space heating will be powered by solar electric heat pumps.

Charging station for electric bikes and cars

With so much solar power being generated, The Paddock will include an electric charging station as one of the site’s features.

Residents will be able to use this station to charge electric bikes and – for those that have them – electric cars.

A comfortable temperature range will be maintained in each home for much of the year using natural sources of heating and cooling, such as sun and wind.

This temperature efficiency is achieved by orientating each home to ensure maximum use of natural resources.

Stage 1 of the project is due for completion in 2019.

Newstead powers towards clean energy town status

Meanwhile, the nearby town of Newstead also has renewable energy ambitions. It plans to replace its old petrol station with an electric charging station.

The small community of 500, located 140 km north-west of Melbourne, wants all its power to come from renewable energy sources in five years’ time.

Newstead is supported by its local network provider, Powercor.