Setting the scene
East Gippsland Water has long been committed to environmental sustainability. We are progressing a series of projects on a pathway to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 44 percent by 1 July 2025 – which would take our annual emissions down to a maximum of 4,650 tonnes of CO2-e equivalent (t CO2-e).
Even more significant, we have a commitment to achieve zero net emissions by 2035.
Some key initiatives to date:
- An energy performance contract as part of the Efficient Government Buildings program. This saw more than $1.2 million invested in energy efficiency measures at 15 East Gippsland Water sites over two years.
- An energy partnership with 12 other Victorian water corporations, to collectively purchase solar power from the new Kiamal Solar Farm in north-west Victoria, under an umbrella organisation called Zero Emissions Water (ZEW). This project is a key part of our forward plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also maintaining affordable water bills for customers. This project was operational in January 2021
- Installation of approximately 245kW of solar across our region.
These initiatives are a key part of our forward plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also maintaining affordable water bills for customers.
2022/23 mid-year progress report
We are finalising the installation of a 99kW solar system at our Paynesville Water Recycling Plant – which we expect will reduce our overall emissions by 130 tonnes of CO2-e equivalents per year.
The solar array will be used to run the facility’s aerators and pumps with the excess electricity generated being fed back into the grid.
This new solar array is in addition to the 266kW of solar systems we have installed across 19 sites in recent years to assist us in achieving our zero emissions target by 2035.
Additionally, East Gippsland Water’s energy partnership with 12 other Victorian water corporations to collectively purchase solar power from the Kiamal Solar Farm in northwest Victoria continues to be significant in our drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain affordable water bills for customers – by enabling us to purchase solar power at a cheaper rate.
We are currently implementing upgrades to our Bairnsdale Water Recycling Plant, including replacing our combined heat and power unit.
Our well-known white ‘bubble’ stores biogas, a by-product of the wastewater treatment process, which will be used by the new combined heat and power unit to generate energy to power the plant. The new heat and power unit is estimated to produce 500 megawatt hours of electricity a year – considerably reducing our reliance on grid-based energy.
Additionally, we have maintained our focus on a major ongoing program to reduce stormwater and groundwater infiltration into the sewer network. Caused by leaks and illegal stormwater pipe connections, this places unnecessary pressure on the operation of sewer pump stations and treatment plants – increasing electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Planning is underway to modify existing sewers in several sewerage systems in East Gippsland to reduce infiltration.
For information on our performance over the last financial year please click on the link below:
Reporting back to you
Our business plan for 2018-23 (our Price Submission) takes into account feedback from 2,200 customers across the region and there was clear support to focus on environmental sustainability.
Based on this feedback, East Gippsland Water’s Customer Committee has a commitment to provide six-monthly updates to you on our progress to cut greenhouse gas emissions.