Approximately one third of Yarra Valley Water’s energy will soon be generated on site with solar technology, with the aim of using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

Work will commence in early December 2018 to install solar panels at the Mitcham site. This follows the installation of solar panels at Yarra Valley Water’s Upper Yarra, Healesville and Whittlesea treatment plants.

Yarra Valley Water’s Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said Yarra Valley Water is committed to its 2025 target and that it is crucial for all organisations to implement real tactics to reduce their carbon footprint.

“The future security of water, Australia’s most precious resource, depends on our response to climate change now, which is why Yarra Valley Water is aiming to produce 100 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources.

“All Australian organisations should be looking to adopt renewable energy and more sustainable practices. The environmental benefits are obvious, but when you also factor in the financial savings, it makes complete sense,” Mr McCafferty said.

A further display of Yarra Valley Water’s commitment to renewable energy is it’s waste-to-energy plant in Wollert, the first of its kind operating in Victoria.

The plant has been operating for over a year and has processed in excess of 25,000 tonnes of commercial food waste to create 7,500,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and landfill.

Markets and food manufacturers deliver the equivalent of 33,000 tonnes of commercial food waste to the Wollert facility each year which is converted into the equivalent of approximately 25 per cent of Yarra Valley Water’s overall energy requirements.

The plant not only powers itself but also the adjacent Aurora sewage treatment plant with enough excess energy to export to the electricity grid. Yarra Valley Water is also exploring increasing renewable energy production at the plant by a further 20 per cent.

Mr McCafferty said that the waste-to-energy plant was an example of how a large corporation could work together with small businesses to adopt more sustainable ways of doing business.

“By being innovative and collaborative within the context of your business area, large corporations can partner with small businesses to develop mutually beneficial ways of tackling climate change.

“Since the waste-to-energy plant started operating in May 2017, we’ve been inundated with requests from food growers, manufacturers and markets to the point where we sometimes have to turn people away.

“It’s been an outstanding success and a really valuable way of working together with the local businesses and customers we serve as a water utility,” Mr McCafferty said.

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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