Renewable Energy Project
We’re investing more than $15 million to install renewable energy systems at treatment plants and pump stations across our network.
Our newly installed, behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have already started generating electricity to power our facilities, reduce our impact on the environment and decrease our ongoing electricity costs.
This major investment in over six megawatts (MW) of renewable energy is a key step in helping us achieve our carbon reduction target to be net zero by 2035.
Electricity is one of our major expenses, accounting for up to 10 per cent of our operating costs. Generating electricity from solar energy, such as at Morpeth Wastewater Treatment Works (pictured), is one of a number of opportunities available that can help to reduce these costs, and reduce carbon emissions.
In 2020, we installed a 100 kilowatt trial system at Branxton Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW), made up of both roof and ground mounted solar panels (see image below).
We applied what we learnt from this trial to roll out larger solar projects across our sites.
What we’ve done
About 2.5 MW DC (Direct Current) (or 2.1MW AC (Alternating Current)) of solar has now been installed and is generating power at:
- Morpeth WWTW
- Kurri Kurri WWTW
- Raymond Terrace WWTW
- Boulder Bay WWTW
- Paxton WWTW
- Tarro works depot
- Branxton WWTW
- Cessnock WWTW
- Shortland WWTW.
A 100kW (250kWh) Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has been installed at Branxton WWTW as a pilot project to assess the value of such projects in the future.
What we’re doing now
We’re currently delivering the fourth and fifth stage of the project by installing over three megawatts of solar at:
- Balickera Pump Station
- Dungog WWTW
- Tanilba Bay WWTW.
Work at Balickera Pump Station
We’re installing a 3.1 megawatt system at our Balickera Pump Station site at Italia Road, Balickera.
This system will help power a number of critical Hunter Water assets on our own private high voltage network, such as the Balickera Pump Station, Grahamstown Water Treatment Plant, George Schroder Pump Station and the Tomago Water Pump Station.
The project involves installing approximately 5,500 ground-mounted solar panels over about three hectares of open space adjacent to Balickera Pump Station, divided into two sections with one either side of the Balickera Canal.
The existing public park will be relocated to the northern section of the site following completion of the solar project. We’ll be sharing the new park design with neighbouring residents before we build it.
Work at Dungog and Tanilba Bay WWTW
We’re installing 600 ground mounted solar panels to help power our critical water infrastructure sites, Dungog and Tanilba Bay Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW).
We’ll continue to look at more opportunities to install roof and ground solar at our treatment plants and other Hunter Water sites.
We’re also exploring options to install floating solar PV technology at treatment plant sites and learn about this exciting new technology.
A key initiative in our sustainability journey is to embrace a decarbonised future. To achieve action on climate change and maintain affordable services for our customers, we have set our carbon reduction target to be net zero by 2035.