An energy lab for Peregian Beach?

A proposal to transform the Rufous Street precinct in Peregian Beach into an “energy hub” is one of many ambitious ideas being pushed by Zero Emissions Noosa (ZEN) in 2022.

The site already houses the highly successful Digital Hub as well as the soon to be completed new community house (which has the potential to become a true community “hub” not just for Peregian Beach but for the wider Noosa community). Proponents argue that the development of an energy “hub” at the site would complete the trifecta.

The idea crystallised at ZEN’s strategic planning workshop last year and the potential was readily recognised. Indeed, the concept is already attracting interest from a number of players in the energy space. Several of the buildings on the site are owned by Noosa Council and, as such, the installation of increased solar capacity on the buildings would be in accordance with Noosa Council’s Zero Emissions Organisational Strategy 2016-2026, which seeks to install maximum solar panels on Council owned facilities. The proposal is also in keeping with Council’s Environment Strategy, Climate Response Plan, and its Economic Development Strategy.

The initial proposal has several components:

  • First, install increased solar capacity on the Council owned buildings
  • Secondly, investigate the optimum use of the extra electricity generated with the possibility of installing a community scale battery or similar storage scheme. In the longer term, once regulatory issues have been addressed, it is hoped that the site will become one of Noosa’s first micro grid projects and / or a virtual power plant (VPP).
  • Thirdly, in recognition of the inevitable uptake of solar vehicles, it is proposed that several electric vehicle charging stations are installed around the Rufous Street precinct.
  • Fourthly, it is planned to use the new community house as a venue and focal point for a series of community forums to explain the energy hub concept and to provide a venue for the exchange of ideas as to how the “hub” could be further developed.
  • Finally, it is hoped that links will be developed to possible renewable energy start-ups at the Peregian Beach Digital Hub.

Once the success of the project has been demonstrated there is absolutely no reason the project could not be expanded to eventually embrace the whole village centre of Peregian Beach and not just the immediate buildings in the Rufous Street precinct.

Elements of the plan are already under consideration by Council including the expansion of rooftop solar, the potential of single, stand-alone batteries or behind-the-meter batteries and the installation of EV charging stations at the Rufous Street precinct.

The ”energy hub” could also be a crucible for renewable energy start-ups with business opportunities for solar installers / systems designers and solar solution and energy efficiency providers as well as those involved in the energy systems monitoring equipment business. 

In keeping with the vision of the Noosa Biosphere, the energy hub concept has the potential of becoming an energy lab, positioning Peregian Beach as the “smart centre” of the Noosa Shire. Perhaps an “energy lab” is a better descriptor (as suggested by some) than an “energy hub.” Either way, Peregian Beach is set to cement its reputation as the “smart centre” of the Noosa Shire, complementing the excellent work currently being conducted at the Digital Hub.

With land zoned for business a finite resource in the Noosa Shire it makes sense to capitalise on existing resources efficiently and sustainably. Creating an energy zone at the Rufous Street precinct can create an entrepreneurial environment without developing the area into an industrial park. 

The opportunities are endless. 


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