People shun mainstream society to live off the grid
Updated 1 hour 36 minutes ago
As power prices rise and alternative-energy technologies progress, a growing number of people are opting to disconnect and live off the grid.
Retired scientist and businessman Doone Wyborn and his wife Carol are two of those people.
They bought an 800-acre parcel of land in rural northern New South Wales almost 10 years ago and plan to turn it into a self-sufficient rural cooperative community.
Their house is already electricity independent using a 3.45-kilowatt array of solar panels, and enough water for the proposed village comes from a nearby mountain spring.
They are the only couple living on the land so far, but their vision is for 21 plots of land to make up an independent eco-village.
If people choose to live in the village they will need to build their own self-sufficient house on their allotted block of land.
“If there is something we haven’t got on the property, I want us to either produce it ourselves, find an alternative or go without,” Mr Wyborn said.
Mr Wyborn is an expert in the science and business of alternative energy, having completed a PhD in geothermal energy and helped set up a pioneering geothermal company.
The solar panel array on his property produces 25 per cent more electricity because it tracks the sun’s movement through the sky.
In time the Wyborns would like to see their rural cooperative running a variety of crops and produce, but at this stage production is very much for personal consumption.
Around 200 acres of the property is semi-cleared and suitable for cropping and grazing, while another 600 acres is made up of eucalypt forest and rainforest.
Mr Wyborn says nine plots of land have been reserved so far and there has been interest from other people who would like to live off the grid.