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Central Highlands Water is to make five large and medium-scale solar installations which will power almost half of the energy needs at four of its water and wastewater treatment plants. 

The four sites include Ballarat North and South Wastewater Treatment Plants, Lal Lal and White Swan Water Treatment Plants and the White Swan pump station. The sites have the potential to make up to 70 per cent of the utility’s total electricity load. 

Central Highlands Water Managing Director, Paul O’Donohue, said the solar initiative has been driven by the community, who asked for improved sustainability of their water supply systems as a key priority.

 “As part of our Let’s Talk Water campaign, the community told us they valued the use of renewable energy, but at no extra cost to them,” Mr O’Donohue said. 

“We are pleased to be able to deliver on that goal with this initiative, which is also a step forward in delivering our Emissions Reduction Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2025.”

The solar panels will generate 3500MWh of renewable energy, equivalent to the average annual energy use of 750 Victorian homes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3,745 tonnes per year.

“The solar is designed so that the majority of the energy is used to power the treatment plants, and from time to time some of the renewable energy will be exported to the grid,” Mr O’Donohue said. 

“It will also deliver added value for our customers by taking pressure off the region’s electricity grid and reducing peak daily electricity demand, to help combat power outages in peak periods such as summer.

 “We’re committed to finding innovative and cost-effective solutions that benefit our customers, and this project will also contribute to the Victorian Government Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. 

“It is a long-term investment in our community, building on our other existing renewable initiatives like small-scale roof-mounted solar at our Learmonth Road office, the Daylesford and Maryborough Water Treatment Plants and mini hydro-electricity generators at Lal Lal Water Treatment Plant and at the Goldfields Superpipe.”

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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