SA Water generates renewable energy from the Hope Valley hydroelectric power plant through a joint venture with Hydro Tasmania. From the Anstey Hill storage tanks in the Adelaide Hills, the water flow is harnessed through a mini hydro power plant, generating clean electricity, using the energy within flowing water that would otherwise have been wasted. The water then continues its journey to the Hope Valley terminal storage tank.
The mini-hydro plant generates up to 7 gigawatt hours of green electricity per year – enough to power 1,000 homes. It also reduces SA Water’s greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 6,000 tonnes per year. The project has proved to be technically, environmentally and economically feasible and it will continue to generate renewable energy for many more years.
As part of the North South Interconnection System Project, work has commenced on a 900 Kilowatt rated mini-hydroelectric turbine at Seacliff Park that will produce about 5 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year into the local distribution network.
At the Adelaide Desalination Plant, in addition to the energy recovery devices that recover energy from the first pass of the reverse osmosis system, the recently commissioned hydroelectric power plant recovers energy from the saline concentrate flow before it enters the outfall conduit. The renewable energy generated is used on-site, reducing the amount of grid-imported electricity and minimising CO2 emissions.
Further exploration by SA Water into both large and small scale hydroelectric power has resulted in a micro-hydro system being installed at the Winninowie tanks, the first of its kind for SA Water. The performance of this system will be closely monitored and it is envisaged that under the right circumstances, other remote water network sites could benefit from this technology to avoid costly network extensions.
These hydro projects demonstrate commitment to SA Water’s Energy Management Strategy and its 20% renewable energy target under the terms of its Climate Change Sector Agreement with the South Australian Government. SA Water continues to investigate renewable energy and efficiency opportunities to improve its environmental performance, reduce carbon emissions and operating costs whilst ensuring a safe, healthy and reliable water supply.