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SA Water's solar future another step closer

SA Water continues to make great strides in its plan to achieve net-zero electricity costs by 2020, with the installation of five megawatts of solar photovoltaic arrays now complete at three of its major treatment facilities: Hope Valley, Christies Beach and Glenelg.

Planning, design and community consultation is also well underway for the installation of more than 500,000 solar panels at around 70 SA Water sites over the next 12 months.

While the priority is solar, the integration of about 34 megawatt hours of battery storage will also occur as part of this process.

The project is one of several initiatives being implemented through SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future program, some of which have been in progress for many years.

Other projects include: maximising wider energy consumption through scheduling of pumping or operating back-up generation to coincide with more favourable electricity price periods; installing more energy-efficient equipment at SA Water sites; and using hydroelectric and biogas generation. These will continue beyond the installation and operation of the solar arrays.

SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said the program’s rate of return made it an obvious investment to help deliver low and stable prices for customers.

“It will also demonstrate the way renewable energy generation can be integrated at utility scale, and help the transition to a low carbon future,” Roch said.

The Zero Cost Energy Future program also includes trialling emerging technology that has the potential to create a step change in managing SA Water’s energy expenditure.

For example, Adelaide company 1414 Degrees’ Thermal Energy Storage System (GAS-TESS), which is installed and operating at SA Water’s Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This world-first commercial pilot takes gas or electricity and stores it as latent heat in silicon. At Glenelg, the system is being used to burn biogas from the treatment plant and store the thermal energy until needed, increasing the plant’s energy self-sufficiency.

To find out more, come along to the Australian Water Association South Australia Branch’s technical tour of the GASS-TESS on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

The tour will also feature talks from 1414 Degrees Chief Operating Officer Jordan Parham and SA Water Business Development Manager Kevin Ross. To register for the tour, click here.