The vision of a community with little need for imported energy was presented to members of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy group in Bingara last week.
Gwydir Shire Council hosted a forum headed by German ecological engineer Professor Dr Peter Heck, who explained the working of his university which generates all its own energy needs and discards minimal waste.
He showed photographs of small German farms with bio-digesters to collect methane which can be used as a fuel or to generate electricity, or can be upgraded for use in vehicle engines.
Other speakers concentrated on the achievements of solar generation and the potential for using carbon as a soil conditioner.
Mark Glover of Renewed Carbon Co said that among woody weeds yielding a range of useful oils, cypress regrowth provides a chemical for termite-proofing.
Gwydir Shire is pursuing the development of what they call a circular economy, with minimal energy inputs from outside, and minimal money leaving the community.
Chair of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy Co. Emma Stilts said the information presented was absorbing and gave members a lot to think about.