The water and sewerage treatment plant that services the regional Victorian city of Portland will soon be powered entirely by wind energy, with plans for the construction of an 800kW wind turbine revealed on Friday.
The owners of the facility, state-government owned utility Wannon Water, said the construction of the $2.4 million wind generator would go ahead in late 2016 and was set for completion mid-2017.
Located in the wind rich area of south-west Victoria, the turbine – which will be connected directly to the water reclamation plants – is expected produce an average of 2.2GWh a year, more than covering the 2GWh a year average consumption of the facility.
Wannon Water says this the turbine will deliver reductions in customer water bills – and could make Portland the first city in Australia to achieve net-zero emissions for its water and sewerage systems.
Located 360-odd kilometres south-west of Melbourne, Portland is home to Australia’s biggest wind tower manufacturers, Keppel Prince, and was chosen by the state Andrews government as the venue for its 2015 Victorian Renewable Energy Target launch.
It was also part of the electorate of the previous LNP Premier, Denis Napthine, whose Conservative government introduced some of the most prohibitive wind farm planning laws in the country; many of which have since been unwound.
“Using the best technology available, this project will provide a net-zero emissions energy supply for Portland’s treatment plants, and reduce Wannon Water’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by a further 8 per cent per year on top of the 23 per cent reduction already achieved since 2006/07,” said Wannon Water chair Jacinta Ermacora.
“Portland, with its world-class wind resources, is the ideal location for producing wind energy, and one generator will provide enough power to operate both Wannon Water treatment plants.”
“(It) will significantly reduce our energy costs, with the savings passed on to customers.
The Portland Renewable Energy Project, which has been three years in the planning, involved extensive consultation with neighbouring property owners, the majority of which supported the concept, Wannon Water said.
The utility is currently finalising design, with the generator to be located behind the existing water reclamation plant, as well as contractual arrangements.
“Wannon Water prides itself on demonstrating leadership in innovation, water supply security and implementing ideas to support future growth and regional prosperity,” Ermacora said.
“The Portland Renewable Energy Project is an excellent example of how that innovative thinking can deliver multiple benefits for our customers, the environment and the communities we serve.”