Victorian utilities sign landmark agreement

A collection of Victorian water utilities have entered into a landmark energy agreement designed to reduce carbon emissions.

In addition to minimising greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement – signed by 13 authorities – also aims to maintain affordable water bills for customers.

The water corporations that have signed the agreement include: Barwon Water, Central Highlands Water, City West Water, Coliban Water, East Gippsland Water, Southern Rural Water, Lower Murray Water, South East Water, South Gippsland Water, Wannon Water, Westernport Water, Western Water and Yarra Valley Water.

From October, the utilities will purchase solar power together from Kiamal Solar Farm in northwest Victoria under a new umbrella organisation called Zero Emissions Water (ZEW).

Purchasing energy as a large group means the organisations can procure energy at a cheaper rate, translating to savings for customers.

“We’ve seen the effects of climate change on our water storage levels, which is why it’s more important than ever to create solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville.

“It’s great to see our state’s water corporations working together on this innovative new model, which will not only help protect our environment into the future but also keep water bills affordable for Victorians.”

ZEW Chair Paul O’Donohue said the Victorian water industry is committed to advancing projects that benefit the environment and create more return on investment for customers.

“The security of Victoria’s water supply depends on our response to climate change now,” he said.

“This partnership is a smart way for the water corporations to reduce their carbon footprint, without passing the cost on to customers.

“The water sector is helping to lead the way for other industries to reduce their emissions and operating costs through sector collaboration.”

The utilities will purchase between 20 to 50 per cent of their total energy needs through ZEW and expect to have a collective emissions reduction of 80,000 t of carbon dioxide per year.

The agreement is the first of its kind in Australia and a major step forward towards the sector achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

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