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.
2022/23 year in review – November 2023
We are continuing to actively seek to minimise energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, with our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our operations of delivering safe drinking water and treatment of wastewater.
The 2022/23 financial year saw our annual greenhouse gas emissions drop to 7443 t CO2-e – nearly five per cent lower than our 2021/22 result. This result is due to our increased renewable energy activities and initiatives, including the installation of our largest solar system at the Paynesville Recycled Water and Reuse Facility and the commissioning of our new 80kW Combined Heat and Power Biogas engine at our Bairnsdale Water Recycling Plant.
The successful installation of our largest solar array, 99kW, at our Paynesville Water Recycling and Reuse Plant is now in use – running the facilitates aerators and pumps, with the excess electricity generated fed back into the grid. The solar system at Paynesville has already produced 70MWh since installation in April – enough to power 14 homes for a year. We have installed solar systems across 19 of our sites, assisting us in achieving our zero emissions target by 2035.
For more information about the Paynesville Solar System, click here.
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.
Our largest water recycling plant, based in Bairnsdale, has recently completed some upgrades – including the installation of a new combined heat and power unit. Our well-known white ‘bubble’, at our Bairnsdale Recycled Water treatment plant, stores biogas – a by-product of the wastewater treatment process. The biogas is used in our 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 electricity with excess energy fed back into the grid.
For more information about the new Combined Heat and Power unit, click here.
We 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 the link below:
Reporting back to you
Our business plan for 2023-28 (our Price Submission) takes into account feedback from customers across the region and there was clear support to focus on environmental sustainability.
Based on this feedback, East Gippsland Water’s Customer Advisory Committee has a commitment to provide six-monthly updates to you on our progress to cut greenhouse gas emissions.