South East Water is pleased to be an active partner in the Zero Emissions Water (ZEW) program and has committed to purchasing approximately 10,000 MWh of renewable energy from the project each year.
South East Water's commitment to ZEW is one of a number of initiatives it's undertaking to meet our Emissions Reduction Pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2025. Other initiatives the utility is undertaking include installing solar panels at water recycling plants, installing a combined heat and power unit that runs on biogas produced with organic matter to provide 40 per cent of the power needs for the Mt Martha Water Recycling Plant, upgrading the Boneo Water Recycling Plant to a more energy efficient process that will generate and capture biogas and reduce the amount of electricity needed to treat wastewater, and introducing hybrid vehicles into its fleet.
The Board of ZEW and 13 of the state's water corporations recently started to receive a solar energy offtake from the Kiamal Solar Farm at Ouyen, Victoria’s largest solar farm.
This renewable energy will be a major contributor towards meeting the emissions reduction targets of net-zero by 2030 for Melbourne Metropolitan Water Corporations and 2050 for Victorian Regional Water Corporations. These targets are set by the Victorian Government as part of the Water for Victoria Plan. All 13 water corporations have committed to or agreed to exceed this target.
ZEW came to life through the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) program, which is a partnership between VicWater, 16 Victorian water corporations and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The IWN investigates new technologies and innovations to meet common challenges in a more efficient manner.
The partners first initiated a Large-Scale Renewable project which led to an assessment on ways to reduce energy costs and emissions that recommended water corporations aggregate their renewable energy requirements to access the wholesale generation market.
The outcome of the IWN Large-Scale Renewable project is that the 13 participating water corporations are purchasing solar power together from the Kiamal Solar Farm under the ZEW umbrella.
Purchasing as one large organisation means the water corporations will procure energy at a cheaper rate compared to going it alone. The expected savings from this deal will help water corporations to offset rising energy costs, which in turn will help to keep customer bills down.
The ZEW partnership demonstrates that Victorian water corporations are leading the way to reduce operational costs and emissions. The innovative structure of this deal is the first of its kind in Australia and is a major step forward towards the sector being a leader in climate change mitigation in Victoria.
"Zero Emissions Water is a fantastic example of how water corporations can work together to achieve our emissions reductions targets, alongside our individual actions and projects to operate more sustainably as an industry."
- Lara Olsen, Managing Director of South East Water
"The limited liability company will purchase up to 78 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per annum (approximately enough energy to power 5,000 houses) from Total Eren's Kiamal Solar Farm and distribute it to participating water corporations. The 13 water corporations will each take a percentage share of the total renewable energy ZEW purchases based on their local needs. The purchase agreement is set for 11 years and will be supplying each corporation up to 50% of their renewable energy requirement."
- Paul O'Donohue, Chair of Zero Emissions Water
"This agreement is another great example of the actions the Victorian Water industry is taking to manage and reduct their carbon emissions - showing how Victoria is once again leading the way as we transition to a renewable energy future."
- Richard Wynne, Acting Minister for Water
"It has been a pleasure to work with Zero Emissions Water to secure a large offtake from the Kiamal Solar Farm and enable 13 Victorian Water Boards involved to source a significant renewable energy supply. The Kiamal Solar Farm is a unique project, not only because it is the biggest Solar Farm in the State of Victoria, but also because it is backed by four Power Purchase Agreements including that with ZEW, plus one Large-scale Generation Certificates contract."
- Michael Vawser, Chairman of Kiamal Solar Farm and Regional Director of Total Eren
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