Innovation & renewable energy
We're one of the most innovative water utilities in Australia.
We lead the industry by developing new technologies that provide:
- improved services
- better environmental outcomes
- value for money for our customers.
We generate 17.5% of our total energy needs through our renewable energy projects.
Pumping and treating water and wastewater uses a lot of energy.
We're always looking for ways to:
- reduce our carbon footprint
- use alternate and renewable energy sources as part of our focus on being a responsible corporate citizen.
We aim to keep the amount of electricity we use below pre-1988 levels, even with an increasing population and higher processing standards.
We generate 17.5% of our total energy needs through our renewable energy projects. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 60 thousand tonnes a year.
Even simple solutions can mean big savings in electricity use.
For example, by changing the lighting in some of our plants, we've achieved electricity savings of about $130,000 a year.
Since the start of our energy efficiency program, we've saved about 27.3 GWh. That's enough electricity to power 3,900 homes for a year!
Hydroelectricity can be produced when falling water has enough kinetic energy to drive a water powered generator.
We've installed hydro power generation:
- at North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant
- on the Warragamba pipeline
- on a pipeline from Woronora Dam.
These hydro power plants use pressure reduction and gravity flow in water and wastewater streams to generate energy.
We can use the electricity and heat to reduce the overall energy demand of a wastewater treatment plant.
In a wastewater system, the anaerobic digestion of organic waste can be used to produce methane gas.
This gas can be used to power a combustion engine that drives an electricity generator.
The heat generated from the combustion engine can then be used to warm the digester and improve its efficiency.
We already use cogeneration at a number of plants. We're looking to increase our cogeneration capacity at Bondi and North Head.
Co-digestion takes liquid organic waste from restaurants and other sources and combines this with solids from the wastewater system. This mix is then digested to produce methane gas and biosolids.
In late 2011, we began exploring the possibilities of co-digestion and the benefits of treating organic waste as a resource.
This work is still in the early stages, but it's producing some impressive results with a lot of promise for the future.