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Carbon Neutral Settlements: The role of solar energy

Anda, M., Stewart, J., Goodfield, D., Ploumis, M. and Mathew, K. (2012) Carbon Neutral Settlements: The role of solar energy. In: AuSES 50th Annual Conference “SOLAR 2012 – the first 50 years, 6 - 7 December, Melbourne, Australia

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Abstract

Solar energy has a major role in moving towards carbon neutral settlements. Three different Australian settlement types are included in this research: urban villages, remote indigenous settlements and isolated mine site camps. This study contributes to a broader ARC research program by Curtin University and Murdoch University on Decarbonising Cities and Regions. A six-element model for carbon neutral human settlements was developed. This was subsequently upgraded to include food as a separate element. The process to achieve a carbon neutral settlement via an emissions reduction plan, following a life cycle analysis, was proposed in six steps. It was found that this planning method can enable new urban developments to achieve a ‘zero energy development’ but achieving a carbon neutral status would require additional measures that address the complete lifecycle of the development. Monitoring and data collection systems were installed in a minesite camp and the data used in a new modelling tool to evaluate different renewable energy systems to offset total lifecycle emissions. These systems were found to only reduce emissions below that of the existing gas-fired power generation somewhere between 2013 and 2018 when costs are expected to drop significantly. In the case of remote indigenous settlements the elements of this planning model were used to identify opportunities for sustainable livelihoods linked to renewable energy in the new carbon economy.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/22569
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