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    Mark Williams.

Solar-capture water plan

Water supply across almost a quarter of Victoria is manoeuvring to become the latest industry to benefit from renewable energy in the region.

GWMWater is already adopting solar-capture infrastructure to offset power use at its many Wimmera-Mallee facilities and is now a partner in a broader project to save energy and reduce its carbon footprint.

GWMWater is collaborating with Gippsland Water, Centre for New Energy Technologies, C4NET, and researchers from Federation University and RMIT University to explore smarter ways to use electricity.

The efforts are likely to lead to reduced energy costs, which GWMWater could ultimately pass on to its customers.

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Managing director Mark Williams confirmed that study results could help GWM-
Water save money on power bills while further reducing its carbon emissions.

“This project extends the work we have been doing to install behind-the-meter solar at our facilities across the region,” he said.

“If results show promise, this research can then be put into practice to provide real benefits for us, the water industry more broadly and mostly importantly, our customers.”

The project is called INdustrial and commercial demand FLEXing to Increase Overall benefit, or more simply ‘Inflexion’.

Federation University lead researcher Dr Rakibuzzaman Shah said the project involved tracking energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants and pump stations and developing a schedule for operation that reduced energy use during peak demand periods.

“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,” Dr Shah said.

“They can also be scheduled to operate only when renewable energies, such as solar power systems, are powering the site.

“Another part of this project is to set up these water corporations in a way that they can feed electricity back into the grid from their use of renewable energies and be paid for that, partially offsetting their energy costs.”

Centre for New Energy Technologies chief executive James Seymour said engagement from the likes of GWMWater and Gippsland Water was an essential part of the project.

“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.

GWMWater, which is capturing solar energy from 57 facilities, has already reduced its carbon emissions by 17 percent since 2018-19.


The entire June 30, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!


The entire June 30,, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!