Barwon Water is further minimising greenhouse gas emissions at its treatment plants with a new solar and battery storage project that will triple the size of its solar farm.

New solar panels at Barwon Water’s Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant will increase the solar farm from 1MW to 3MW, generating enough energy to meet 35 per cent of the plant’s energy needs.

A separate project to install a 300KW solar array at the Wurdee Boluc Water Treatment Plant will also feature a 200KW battery to store solar energy – the first battery storage project for the organisation.

Both projects are the biggest of their kind in the Victorian water industry to date.

Barwon Water Managing Director, Tracey Slatter, said the two projects will dramatically reduce energy consumption, helping achieve Barwon Water’s goal of using 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, as well as keeping customers’ bills low.

“Reducing our energy use drives down our operating costs, which helps us keep downward pressure on water bills,” Ms Slatter said.

“Treating sewage and water is an energy-intensive process, resulting in Barwon Water being one of the main greenhouse gas emitters in our region.

“Our Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre – which treats the majority of our region’s sewage – uses about 33,000 kilowatt hours a day, about seven times more energy than an average household uses in a whole year.

“As a significant greenhouse gas emitter, we’re committed to developing more sustainable practices, and we’re doing that by investing in renewable energy to become more self-sufficient, and limit our impact on the environment.

“Developing renewable sources of energy to cut emissions is critical for a business like Barwon Water because our ability to deliver safe, reliable and affordable water depends on a stable climate.

“We’ve recently started constructing the second stage of our solar farm at our Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant, which will see an additional 5544 panels added to the farm.

“This will boost the solar generation capacity at Black Rock from one megawatt to a massive three megawatts, making it the biggest solar array in the region to date.

“Separately, we embarked on our first battery storage project at our Wurdee Boluc Water Treatment Plant last month, which will capture energy generated from a new 300KW solar array being installed on the site.

“This is significant for Barwon Water because it allows us to keep the energy we generate and use it when it’s needed, instead of sending excess energy to the grid.”

Construction of the additional solar panels at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant started in late 2018.

Work to install solar panels and battery storage at the Wurdee Boluc Water Treatment Plant began in March 2019.

Both projects are expected to be complete by mid-2019.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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