An “Australian-first” Renewable Organics Network that will use reclaimed organic waste to produce electricity, hot water, and soil improver is under construction in Victoria’s south-west.
The project, which received state government support in 2018, is being delivered by Barwon Water in partnership with the five Geelong Region Alliance (G21) councils, the Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods.
The Colac network – the first of two such facilities planned by Barwon Water – will use high-strength organic waste from Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods to produce renewable electricity and hot water.
The project is expected to achieve a net production of 5.5 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity each year – enough to power around 1,000 homes – around half of which will be used “behind-the-meter” to take the Colac Water Reclamation Plant “off the grid.”
The remaining renewable electricity will be exported into the grid, while renewable hot water also generated by the project will be supplied to the Australian Lamb Company via an innovative pipeline – a measure that is expected to offset ALC’s natural gas consumption by 21.4 terajoules a year.
Overall, says Barwon Water, the generation of this dispatchable renewable energy in the form of hot water and electricity will result in a reduction in carbon emissions of around 6,300 tonnes each year.
Victoria’s minister for water, Lisa Neville, said last week that the Colac facility and another under development for the greater Geelong area would create more than 80 new jobs, while also creating a circular economy for the region’s organic waste and reducing landfill and water costs for councils.
“We know the impact climate change is having on inflows to our water storages and the health of our waterways, it’s never been more important to deliver creative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Neville said.
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