The Victorian Government has funded two Renewable Organics Networks, which will use organic waste to produce electricity, thereby reducing waste going to landfill.
The networks, the first of their kind in Australia, will transform municipal and trade organic waste into renewable energy and by-products such as soil enhancers for agricultural purposes.
The projects are designed to drive jobs and renewable energy uptake in Victoria’s south-west.
With a facility being built at the Colac Water Reclamation Plant and another under development for the greater Geelong area, the projects will create more than 80 new jobs across the construction and ongoing facility management stages.
The projects, which will be delivered by Barwon Water, are designed to create a circular economy for the region’s organic waste, reduce landfill costs for councils and reduce water infrastructure energy costs for Barwon Water customers.
Construction for the Colac network, which received $240,000 in 2018, is already underway.
Once complete, the project is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes thanks to high-strength organic waste from the Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods.
The Colac site will share energy back to Australian Lamb Company as hot water, and produce enough electricity to take Barwon Water’s Colac Wastewater Treatment Plant off the grid.
Work is also underway to investigate options to build a similar facility by the end of 2023 for the greater Geelong region to process organic waste collected by local councils.
The projects are being delivered by Barwon Water in partnership with the five Geelong Region Alliance (G21) councils, the Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods.
The Renewable Organics Networks are aligned with the Victorian Government’s water plan, Water for Victoria, which calls on the water sector to lead the way to achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said the State Government wanted water corporations and the whole sector to help Victoria adapt to climate change, and to continue supporting jobs, liveable communities and a healthy environment.
“We know the impact climate change is having on inflows to our water storages and the health of our waterways, it’s never been more important to deliver creative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Ms Neville said.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “This project not only reduces waste going to landfill but also boosts Victoria’s renewable energy capacity – creating jobs, reducing emissions and driving down energy prices.”