Western Australia’s government-owned Water Corporation is gearing up to install solar at around 50 of its pump stations, buildings and borefields throughout the state, in a bid to further reduce both the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions and its costs.
The $30 million project will roll out around 15MW of new solar systems over the coming three years, adding to the 30 renewable energy projects already installed at Water Corporation sites throughout the state.
The energy-intensive utility services an area of more than 2.6 million square kilometres, with regional offices in Perth, Bunbury, Albany, Karratha, Geraldton, Northam and Kalgoorlie, and manages an asset base of more than $37 billion in water supply, wastewater, drainage infrastructure and irrigation water.
State water minister Dave Kelly said the state’s water supplies were being adversely affected by climate change and a decline in rainfall, particularly in the south-west regions.
Just this week, Kelly was compelled to declare an unprecedented seventh water deficiency in the Jerramungup shire and western area of the Ravensthorpe shire. And as Perth mopped up after Tuesday’s massive hail storm, drinking water was being trucked north to Bindoon.
“It is important water utilities take every opportunity now to lead by example and do what they can to increase the use of renewable energy, such as solar, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that fast-track climate change,” Kelly said.
“I am pleased the Water Corporation is utilising its assets around the state to take positive steps to reduce its energy footprint.
“It is great to see the Water Corporation remains committed to exploring and adopting new technology to increase the use of renewable energy.”
Water utilities all over the country have made the shift to renewable energy over the past decade, with on-site solar, in particular, proving well-suited to the needs of the energy intesive business of treating and transporting water.
Last year in Victoria, a group of 13 water companies banded together to forge a major renewable energy off-take deal with the 200MW Kiamal solar farm to supply between 20 and 50 per cent of each corporation’s total electricity needs, and lower water bills for consumers.
And in South Australia, S.A. Water last year announced that local outfit Enerven had been chosen to roll-out a planned 154MW of solar PV and 34MWh of energy storage across more than 70 of the utility’s sites.