Urban Utilities is committed to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in line with the 2021 Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Urban Water Industry Climate Change Position and the Queensland State Government climate change commitment.
As a significant consumer of electricity, Urban Utilities developed our Energy Strategy in 2016, setting a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 with a detailed roadmap to address our energy challenges and opportunities.
As our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, our renewable energy target forms the basis of our interim greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 30% by 2030. In focusing on this deliverable as our interim target, we have already reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20% in the last decade.
Our energy and greenhouse gas emissions strategies align with our Environmental Leadership approach in focussing on understanding how we can really make a difference and solve multiple problems at once.
As a water utility we have many areas of influence and impact, including; water security, liveability, circular economy, biodiversity, water cycle changes, and other key community challenges. A key part of our Environmental Leadership strategic goal is understanding the interactions between a variety of drivers and delivering the greatest benefit to our communities and the unique environments that form our service area.
What we’re doing right now
We’re already reducing our energy and carbon footprints through initiatives that include:
Reducing the energy intensity of our treatment operations through:
- optimisation of our aeration processes
- adoption of Anammox biological treatment at our largest wastewater treatment facility
Increasing renewable energy generation through:
- cogeneration that uses biogas, a by-product of wastewater treatment;
- co-digestion of select liquid wastes from our commercial customers which increases biogas production;
Increasing the renewable energy options in the electricity we buy from the grid, now and into the future;
At the Oxley Creek and Luggage Point Resource Recovery Centres, the bio solids (sludge removed during the treatment process) undergo a separate treatment to produce biogas. Cogeneration units capture the biogas and produce up to 60 per cent of the plants’ electricity needs, decreasing our reliance on the electricity grid.
Luggage Point RRC – 2 x 1.1MW
Oxley Creek RRC – 1 x 1.4MW
We have a portfolio of solar generation across 13 sites in our service area, cutting grid power use at our sewerage treatment facilities by more than 20 per cent. We were one of the first water utilities in Queensland to use solar power in this way, and continue to assess expansion opportunities to future-proof sewage treatment with renewable energy.