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 greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum off 44 percent, by 1 July 2025, which would take annual emissions down to a maximum of 4,650 tonnes of CO2-e equivalent.
In 2018 we committed to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. In September 2021 our Board agreed that times had changed and in order to demonstrate leadership we would accelerate this target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2035 at the latest. This will involve a range of projects but importantly we will be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
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.
2021/22 Mid year progress report
Our energy partnership with 12 other Victorian water corporations to collectively purchase solar power from the Kiamal Solar Farm continues to be significant in our drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is also helping us to maintain affordable water bills for customers, by enabling us to purchase solar power at a cheaper rate.
Earlier this year saw the installation of a 22kW mounted solar array at our Mallacoota Wastewater Treatment Plant. This was progressed under a community-driven initiative involving the Mallacoota Sustainable Energy Group and the Energy & Innovation Co-operative, with funding from Sustainability Victoria. It is already proving itself as a win-win-win project – benefiting the local community and environment, while also reducing our electricity costs to operate the Mallacoota plant.
In addition, we are finalising preparations to install a 99kW solar system at our Paynesville Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Facility in coming months. This is expected to reduce our overall emissions by some 150 tonnes of CO2-e equivalent per year.
In a carry-over from last year, coming months we will also see us implement upgrades to our Bairnsdale Wastewater Treatment Plant – replacing a combined heat and power unit. This has provided an opportunity to upsize and make the most of our biogas captured onsite. As a result, we expect to see a significant increase in electricity produced on-site, and therefore a big reduction in the consumption of externally-provided power.
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 therefore 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.