Water Corporation is taking steps to reduce its energy footprint, with pumping of water and wastewater across vast areas in Western Australia proving to use a significant amount of energy.
From the installation of solar panels at offices, pump stations, treatment plants and borefields, to a renewable energy generator at a major wastewater treatment plant, the Water Corporation is committed to exploring and adopting new technology to reduce its emissions.
Over the next few months, nine Water Corporation offices, workshops and depots are having solar energy panels fitted, including nearly 350 panels installed in Balcatta at the beginning of March 2019. Installation of solar panels at these nine sites will cost about $325,000.
These solar panels will have the ability to generate up to 50 per cent of the total power required to run each site. In total, it is expected the solar panels across the nine sites will reduce the Water Corporation’s annual emissions by 450 tonnes. This is equivalent to powering 110 households or toasting 18 million slices of bread.
The State Government, through the Water Corporation, has also started the construction of a renewable energy generator at the Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plant in Craigie. The generator will use biogas, a by-product from the wastewater treatment process, to produce renewable energy to help meet the energy needs of the Advanced Water Treatment Plant, which forms part of the Groundwater Replenishment Scheme.
Due to be finished in 2019, this renewable energy generator joins the co-generation plant already in operation at the Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said, “WA’s water supplies are being adversely affected by climate change, primarily due to reduced rainfall in the south-west.
“That is why it is so important for water utilities to lead by example, and do what they can to reduce greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change.
“Water Corporation’s adoption of solar and other green technologies will accelerate in the years ahead, particularly as technology improves and costs come down.
“What’s important is that we don’t wait, but take every opportunity now to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases, in the context of rapid climate change. Adopting new technology and applying it in the field allows us to learn what works best and make critical efficiency improvements.”