In an Australian first, Portland’s water and sewage treatment facilities have achieved net-zero-plus emissions thanks to locally generated renewable power.
The achievement is a result of Wannon Water’s $4.2 million investment in a wind turbine at the energy-intensive facilities that will help reduce carbon emissions by an average of 2,500 tonnes a year.
The project forms part of Wannon Water’s commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a target established by the Andrews Labor Government in its Water for Victoria plan. The plan sets out a range of climate mitigation strategies for water utilities, the largest carbon emitters in the public sector.
Portland’s water is supplied from aquifers more than 1,200 metres beneath the ground. The energy required to extract, cool, treat and deliver this water, as well as process the city’s industrial and residential sewage and wastewater is significant.
The turbine will not only help the environment but will also provide future savings for customers with the capital cost paid back within 10 years through reduced power bills.
It is the latest initiative in Wannon Water’s Carbon Neutrality Action Plan which has an initial pledge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Other renewable projects completed in recent years include the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Gateway Road office in Warrnambool and on clear water storage tanks in Warrnambool and Hamilton, and a 50-year agreement with CO2 Australia to manage a landmark carbon offset project which was the first of its kind in the Victorian water industry.
Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney
“The initiative will deliver added value for customers by taking pressure off the region’s electricity grid and reducing peak daily electricity demand.”
“The project also provided economic benefits for the Portland area with local contractors involved in the manufacture of the tower, civil and electrical work and future maintenance needs.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water, Lisa Neville
“This project is a great example of our water authorities meeting the challenges of climate change and population growth – a key objective of our Water for Victoria policy.”
“Projects like this help us reduce our emissions and are an example of the practical measures the water sector can deliver.”