Electric car chargers and solar-powered government are on the way for Wagga after Tuesday night’s council meeting.
A report from staff presented to councillors recommended spending $30,000 on installing 300kW of solar panels at the civic centre, Oasis aquatic centre and airport, installing a free electric vehicle charging station in the CBD at a cost of $5000 and purchasing electric cars as part of the “Cities Power Partnership” program.
Councillor Paul Funnell said Wagga was the regional capital of southern NSW and had to get ready for the future.
“Electric cars are a reality, they’re here, they’re coming and we should embrace them,” he said. “I recently spoke with a Tesla executive and they said next year there’ll be a $50,000 electric car. We should embrace this, we should be saying to the capital cities that they can come to Wagga.”
The report only outlined a single charging station, but Cr Hayes asked staff whether that would be one station that could service multiple vehicles. He was told it was a possibility that would be investigated.
Deputy mayor Dallas Tout said any electric vehicle purchased by council should get branding similar to the “Charlie” truck. He went on to suggest the mayor’s car should be replaced by an electric vehicle.
Craig Burmeister from Planet Power said there was a definite need for everyone – from council to businesses and homes – to look seriously at their energy usage.
“A watt saved is better than a watt produced,” Mr Burmeister said. “We definitely encourage people to reduce consumption and it comes back to design – council is one of the big things there with approving house designs – some of them could do a better job with orientation of houses, windows, garages, it’s not just about filling roofs with solar panels.”
While advances in solar panel technology had made them more efficient and affordable than ever before, Mr Burmeister said people should also look at the “energy rating” of buildings as well.
“Having a gap around your windows is like running the heater with the front door open,” he said. “It’s about attitudes and education, people still ask about miles-per-gallon when they buy a car but they don’t ask about efficiency when they buy or rent a house.”