Coliban Water has released its Annual Carbon Energy (ACE) Plan, outlining the actions it will continue to take to reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.

Executive General Manager Climate and Population Adaptation, Steve Healy, said the purpose of the plan is to provide the forecast consumption in carbon emissions and set out initiatives to undertake for the coming year. It’s also the inaugural planning document for the delivery of Coliban Water’s overarching energy document, the Energy and Carbon Management Strategy.

“We have more than 350 assets that are connected to the electricity grid, which can cost in the order of $4 – $6 million every year, so we not only want to increase energy security for the business but reduce running costs and therefore upward pressure on customer bills, as well as our carbon footprint,” Mr Healy said.

“Our energy consumption is predominantly driven by wastewater treatment, so reducing this is one of the major focal points in the ACE plan.” 

Over the coming 12 months, the business will focus efforts on high-energy activities and sites, including the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant, which accounts for 30 per cent of the overall emissions of the business in an average year.

“We have three major projects at the site underway, which have the potential for significant carbon reduction across the site, including a new process for reusing biosolids, an aeration project and the potential for Solar PV,” Mr Healy said.

“The biosolids and aeration projects are in the planning phase; they’re process improvement projects that will also accommodate growth.” 

The plan also serves as a reporting function, allowing the organisation to look at its achievements in the last 12 months and how these can improve going forward. It also strengthens the energy culture of the business through improved business processes.

Coliban Water will also begin to see the benefits of the Zero Emissions Water Contract signed at the end of 2018, a joint venture between 13 water corporations, which has entered into a power purchase agreement with a renewable energy provider.

Up to 20 per cent of Coliban Water’s emissions will be covered by the joint venture, which provides energy from a northern Victorian solar farm.

“By working alongside the other Victorian water authorities we have much bigger buying power, negotiating a significantly cheaper rate than would be possible individually,” Mr Healy said.

“The Victorian Government is committed through its Water for Victoria plan to achieve net-zero emissions in the water sector by 2050, but Coliban Water is aiming to achieve this target by 2040.” 

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