In 2017 the utility sector has seen billions invested into water infrastructure upgrades and rehabilitation as well as a focus on sustainable clean energy. As 2017 comes to a close, we take a look back at the top utility stories for the year as read by you.
$175 million dollars’ worth of major water and sewerage projects are underway in Brisbane, including a new trunk sewer main, two new cross-river pipelines, and an upgrade to the city’s oldest and largest sewer pipe. The works include constructing a new water pipe under the Brisbane River from Murrarie to Pinkenba, and tunnelling under the Brisbane River from Kenmore to Jindalee to pave the way for new water and sewer pipelines.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting three large New South Wales solar projects, which have secured the necessary financing to begin construction. Developed by renewable energy company Neoen, the plants will make up a quarter of the projects funded under ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar Competitive Round, which has unlocked a billion dollars of renewable energy investment across the nation. The Neoen projects collectively received $16 million in funding through ARENA and $150 million in debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
SA Water is using acoustic detectors as part of its innovative data capture program that aims to help reduce broken mains and locate abnormalities in water pipes under Adelaide’s CBD, with early results of the program released in October 2017. The network is comprised of 100 smart meters at large businesses across Adelaide’s CBD, and 350 devices within the pipe network such as flow meters, water quality and pressure sensors, and acoustic detectors that listen for leaks.
In January 2017 Sydney Water announced a shortlist in its search for a strategic partner to implement its new customer-focused operating model. Sydney Water received Expression of Interest (EOI) submissions from five organisations: Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia and Third Horizon. At the completion of the evaluation of submissions, two participants were shortlisted to progress to the next sourcing phase which included a series of Interactive Dialogue Process (IDP) workshops and a Request for Tender (RFT)
In March 2017 Charlie Littlefair stepped in as the Acting Managing Director of South East Water following the resignation of former Managing Director Kevin Hutchings. Mr Hutchings had been with South East Water (SEW) since 1995, when the organisation was only six months old. In a LinkedIn post, Mr Hutchings reflected on his time at South East Water and the innovative approach the organisation has had in the industry.