Experts in New South Wales are looking to turn one lucky Australian town into a power station.

A project is seeking to set up Australia’s first ‘zero net energy town’ (ZNET), where a mix of technologies is used provide power for small towns with their own internal micro-grid.

The ZNET idea has put places like Wildpoldsried on the map, and now allow it to generate an incredible 321 per cent more energy than it needs.

Most Wildpoldsried residents now receive money from selling their excess power to nearby providers.

The people of Wildpoldsried spent over ten years on a string of private and public renewable energy projects, and their emission-free arrangement has brought waves of prosperity to the town.

Now, a group of interested parties are looking to do the same thing in NSW.

Given that the cost of huge transmission networks is one of the main factors in power prices, there is certainly room for improvement in rural Australia.

The local ZNET project will be the result of efforts from the Institute for Rural Futures at the University of New England; the Office of Adam Marshall, Member for Northern Tablelands; the Regional Clean Energy Program of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage; NSW Trade & Investment.

Teams have been laying the groundwork for over a year, and say they are now looking for a town in the New England region of NSW that wants to volunteer to lead the way.

Rural sustainability firm Starfish Initiatives has brought together the players on the project.

“Zero Net Energy Town has the potential to create a new model of electricity and energy infrastructure for rural and regional Australia,” said Dr Judith McNeill, Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Rural Futures.

“This model may create much needed financial and economic benefits by transforming what is currently a significant economic leakage and cost area into being a new industry and area of employment and income.”

“Community energy initiatives like ZNET have great promise as sustainability ‘sweet spots’,” said Adam Blakester, Project Director and Executive Director of Starfish Initiatives.

“Meaning they can deliver significant economic and financial outcomes as well as creating stronger rural communities and benefiting the natural environment.”

The NSW ZNET team has an ambitious goal, seeking to remove one town’s reliance on the big sate grid by June 2015.

More information is available here.