S Australia’s water utility to cut costs with 152 MW solar, 35 MWh storage

SA Water, South Australian state government-owned water utility has decided to install 152MW in solar and 35MWh in energy storage in the next two years.

The renewable projects are part of its plans to achieve zero net electricity costs by 2020.

The company will distribute generation and storage capacity across 70 of its sites around the state in a bid to reduce its electricity operating costs and increase its revenue.

SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said that neutralising the company’s electricity costs, which stood at $55m for 220GWh in 2016-17, will generate operational savings which can be passed on to customers.

Cheroux said: “We’re working hard to keep our customers’ water prices as low and stable as possible, and big operational circuit breakers like this are essential to achieving savings and future price reductions.

“Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, significantly reduce our network charges and isolate our business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term.

“The maturity of solar technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive water treatment and pumping operations, and export to the market to return revenue.”

The company said that an independent review on the development plan has shown that it is feasible to reap benefits incrementally from the start of the installation.

While energizing solar arrays will be the company’s first focus,  the selection and acquisition of storage will be informed by a series of thermal, flywheel and battery trials.

Now, it is also looking out for experienced suppliers who can deliver the solar arrays that range between 100kW and 13MW, at metropolitan and regional locations.

With the installation of a pilot 100kw solar photo-voltaic and 50kwh battery storage system at its Crystal Brook Depot, SA Water started building its solar portfolio.