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2020 – what a year! From extreme weather events that saw utilities working in overdrive to keep the lights on and the water flowing, to a global pandemic that shifted the way most of the country went about their daily lives, it certainly has been a uniquely difficult year.

Despite these challenges, the utility sector has seen some great achievements in the last twelve months, including breaking ground on green energy development, major projects supplying much-needed jobs and economic stimulation, and the development of new technology to help utilities better manage their assets.

Here, we look back at five of the most-read stories of the year.

  1. Australian-first sewage to hydrogen project commences

In May, the Western Australian Government announced a project to produce renewable hydrogen and graphite from sewage at a wastewater treatment plant.

The three-year operation at Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Munster will produce around 100 tonnes of fuel-grade hydrogen and 380 tonnes of graphite each year, with the potential for expansion.

  1. Robots set to shape utility’s future

Two months prior, in March, Sydney Water’s Wastewater Networks Program developed a new technology in collaboration with IC Pipes P/L to allow a floating robot into its sewers to collect data.

The technology was developed to reduce the safety risks involved in the Avoid Fail Sewer traverse inspections, and improve the quality and consistency of data collected, promising a new era of asset management for the utility.

  1. Sydney Water announces delivery consortia partnerships

Sydney Water began a ten-year partnership with three regional delivery consortia as part of its new Partnering for Success delivery model for all water and wastewater infrastructure across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra.

The three delivery consortia – Confluence Water, Delivering for Customers and the West Region Delivery Team – commenced under the new partnership model on 1 July 2020. 

  1. Queensland to be home to $4.2 million hydrogen plant

The Queensland Government and Australian Gas Networks (AGN) announced their plan to establish a $4.2 million hydrogen plant in Gladstone on Queensland’s central coast, in line with the Queensland Government’s target to become an Australian leader in renewable hydrogen production by 2030.

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on the utility sector

By March, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were being felt all over the world, with countries in lockdown and economic activity at a standstill as positive cases skyrocketed .

Utility followed the developments in this continuously updated story, keeping readers up-to-date with the industry’s response to the crisis. 

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