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GWMWater, Gippsland Water form energy-efficiency research partnership

In order to explore smarter ways to use water, Gippsland Water and GWMWater have entered into an innovative new research collaboration with the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET), and researchers from Federation University and RMIT University.

Gippsland Water Acting Managing Director Simon Aquilina said the results of this study could help the utility to save money on power bills and further reduce its carbon emissions.

“This project builds on the work we’ve been doing to install solar panels at several of our facilities in the past few years,” Aquilina said.

“If the results show promise, this research can then be put into practice to result in real benefits for us and our customers.”

Titled the INFLEXION project, the research involves tracking energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants and pump stations, and developing an operating schedule that reduces energy use during peak demand periods.

Federation University lead researcher Dr Rakibuzzaman Shah said the project aims to enable water utilities to make the most of asset performance while integrating renewable energy sources.

“For instance, if you could make sure a pump station only operates during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower, this will save money on the water corporation’s power bill. It could also be scheduled to operate only when renewable energies, such as solar power systems, are powering the site,” Shah said.

“Another part of this project is to enable water corporations to feed electricity back into the grid from their use of renewable energies and be paid for that, partially offsetting their energy costs.”

C4NET CEO James Seymour said innovation requires collaboration, and the project will help lead the way in ensuring optimal energy use.

“It is the leadership of innovative entities such as Gippsland Water and GWMWater to engage in such research that will help deliver benefits for consumers, asset managers and the environment through the energy transition upon us,” he said.

The project is expected to help both water corporations to reduce carbon emissions as part of their commitment to the Victorian Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.