Innovation & renewable energy

We're one of the most innovative water utilities in Australia.
 
We lead the industry by developing new technologies that provide:

  • improved services
  • better environmental outcomes
  • value for money for our customers.
Cogeneration

We generate 21% of our total energy needs through our renewable energy projects.

Pumping and treating water and wastewater uses a lot of energy.

We're always looking for ways to:

  • reduce our carbon footprint
  • use alternate and renewable energy sources as part of our focus on being a responsible corporate citizen.


We aim to keep the amount of electricity we use below pre-1988 levels, even with an increasing population and higher processing standards.

We have many energy efficient solutions in place and we're always looking for ways to use less energy.

Even simple solutions can mean big savings in electricity use.

For example, by changing the lighting in some of our plants, we've achieved electricity savings of about $130,000 a year.

Since the start of our energy efficiency program, we've saved about 27.3 GWh. That's enough electricity to power 3,900 homes for a year!

eco house

By being energy efficient, we've saved enough energy to power 3,900 homes.

Hydroelectricity can be produced when falling water has enough kinetic energy to drive a water powered generator.

We've installed hydro power generation:

  • at North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • at Prospect Water Filtration Plant
  • on the Warragamba pipeline
  • on a pipeline from Woronora Dam.
These hydro power plants use pressure reduction and gravity flow in water and wastewater streams to generate energy.
Cogeneration is the production of electricity and heat at the same time.

We can use the electricity and heat to reduce the overall energy demand of a wastewater treatment plant.

In a wastewater system, the anaerobic digestion of organic waste can be used to produce methane gas.

This gas can be used to power a combustion engine that drives an electricity generator.

The heat generated from the combustion engine can then be used to warm the digester and improve its efficiency.

We already use cogeneration at a number of plants. We're looking to increase our cogeneration capacity at Bondi and North Head.

The cogeneration plant at Wollongong Water Recycling Plant

Cogeneration at Wollongong Water Recycling Plant.

We installed a 160 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system is designed to supply usable solar power from the sun. 

We have a 160 kW solar PV system that produced 195 mWh and has improved energy use by 25%. We're on track for installing another 160 kW solar PV system so we can make more energy.

The benefits of solar energy:
  • It's sustainable.
  • It's renewable, we never run out of it.
  • It’s one of the natural sources of power to generate electricity.
  • It's low maintenance as we see advances in technology improve.
     
Sydney water staff member standing between solar panels that contribute to reducing reliance on mains electricity

Solar PV uses energy from the sun.

food watse trial

Co-digestion converts organic (food) waste to energy and fertiliser.

Co-digestion takes liquid organic waste from restaurants and other sources and combines it with solids from the wastewater system. This mix is then digested to produce methane gas and biosolids.

In late 2011, we began exploring the possibilities of co-digestion and the benefits of treating organic waste as a resource.

This work is still in the early stages, but it's producing some impressive results with a lot of promise for the future.

The benefits of using co-digestion:

  • It diverts organics, like food scraps, from landfill.
  • It uses existing infrastructure.
  • It generates renewable energy.
  • It has low carbon emissions.