Victorian Water Sector on track for net-zero emissions

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

South Gippsland Water is pleased to be an active partner in the Zero Emissions Water (ZEW) Power Purchasing Agreement and has committed to purchasing up to 922 MWh from the project each year.

This is in support of the initiatives that South Gippsland Water are already undertaking as part of its emissions reduction pledge, such as behind-the-meter solar installations and increased efficiency of water and wastewater pumping systems.

The Board of ZEW and 13 of the state’s water corporations recently started to receive a solar energy offtake from the Kiamal Solar Farm at Ouyen, Victoria’s largest solar farm.

This renewable energy will be a major contributor towards meeting the emissions reduction targets of net zero by 2030 for Melbourne Metropolitan Water Corporations and 2050 for Victorian Regional Water Corporations like South Gippsland Water. These targets are set by the Victorian Government as part of the Water for Victoria Plan. All 13 water corporations have committed to or agreed to exceed this target.

ZEW came to life through the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) program, which is a partnership between VicWater, Victorian water corporations and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The IWN investigates new technologies and innovations to meet common challenges in a more efficient manner.

The partners first initiated a Large-Scale Renewable project which led to an assessment on ways to reduce energy costs and emissions that recommended water corporations aggregate their renewable energy requirements to access the wholesale generation market.

The outcome of the IWN Large-Scale Renewable project is that the 13 participating water corporations are purchasing solar power together from the Kiamal Solar Farm under the ZEW umbrella.

Purchasing as one large organisation means the water corporations will procure energy at a cheaper rate compared to going it alone. The expected savings from this deal will help water corporations to offset rising energy costs, which in turn will help to keep customer bills down.

The ZEW partnership demonstrates that Victorian water corporations are leading the way to reduce operational costs and emissions. The innovative structure of this deal is the first of its kind in Australia and is a major step forward towards the sector being a leader in climate change mitigation in Victoria.

Quotes attributable to the Chair of Zero Emissions Water, Paul O’Donohue
“The limited liability company will purchase up to 78 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per annum (approximately enough energy to power 5,000 houses) from Total Eren’s Kiamal Solar Farm and distribute it to participating water corporations. The 13 water corporations will each take a percentage share of the total renewable energy ZEW purchases based on their local needs. The purchase agreement is set for 11 years and will be supplying each corporation up to 50% of their renewable energy requirement.”

Quotes attributable to the Acting Minister for Water, Richard Wynne
“This agreement is another great example of the actions the Victorian Water industry is taking to manage and reduce their carbon emissions – showing how Victoria is once again leading the way as we transition to a renewable energy future.”

Quotes attributable to the Chairman of Kiamal Solar Farm and Regional Director of Total Eren, Michael Vawser
“It has been a pleasure to work with Zero Emissions Water to secure a large offtake from the Kiamal Solar Farm and enable the 13 Victorian Water Boards involved to source a significant renewable energy supply. The Kiamal Solar Farm is a unique project, not only because it is the biggest Solar Farm in the State of Victoria, but also because it is backed by four Power Purchase Agreements including that with ZEW, plus one Large-scale Generation Certificates contract.”

Quotes attributed to South Gippsland Water Managing Director Philippe du Plessis
“We’re proud as a regional water organisation to be part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions in our state. We’re committed to undertake all our activities in an environmentally responsible manner, delivering water and wastewater services to our customers in the most sustainable way possible.”