Environmental sustainability

Climate change, energy and emissions reduction initiatives

Shoalhaven Water is committed to reducing corporate operational emissions and increasing renewable energy generation across our assets and operations.

By installing renewable energy systems and working to improve energy efficiency, we can reduce energy costs and help protect our climate for future generations.

What have we been doing?

For over a decade, we have been working to increase our renewable energy by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Starting with just one installation and producing only 10 kW, today we have 15 assets with a total of over 500 kW of solar PV systems installed.

Combined, we are proud to now be generating around 736,000 kWh of renewable electricity every year.

What does this mean?

By generating renewable energy, we not only reduce operating costs and our reliance on fossil-fuel based energy, but we also save around 640 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions every year.

That’s roughly the same emissions that would be saved by taking 150 cars off the road every year.

Ulladulla Works Depot Shed Solar Rooftop Panels

Image of Ulladulla Works Depot - Shoalwater shed rooftop PV system

Solar power for our wastewater treatment plants

Water and wastewater treatment plants use a large amount of energy to operate.

In October 2020, we commissioned a 96kW ground-mounted solar PV system at the Vincentia wastewater treatment plant which generates around 20% of the facilities overall electricity needs. That’s an impressive 135,000 kWh per year.

Vincentia wastewater treatment plant solar array

Image of Vincentia wastewater treatment plant solar PV system

In November 2021, the Nowra wastewater treatment plant received an upgrade which included our largest solar PV system installation to date. The ground-mounted solar array is comprised of 250 solar panels and will offset the plant’s electricity needs during the daytime with renewable energy.

Nowra wastewater treatment plant solar panels

Image of Nowra wastewater treatment plant solar PV system

Renewable electricity

Power purchase agreement 2023-2030

Under an agreement with electricity retailer Flow Power, Shoalhaven City Council will purchase up to 50% of our overall costs by using renewable electricity from wind and solar farms in regional NSW. This will help cover the operation of some of our larger sites such as pools, administration buildings and street lighting.

The arrangements will see renewable energy added to the grid on behalf of Council, offsetting energy use through the purchase of Large-scale Generation Certificates. 

Most notably, all of Shoalhaven Water’s water and wastewater treatment plants are being supplied their electricity under this renewable energy agreement.

image of Mayors at Flow Powers South Nowra Solar Farm

Image of Mayors from Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven Councils with a Flow Power representative at the existing South Nowra solar farm.

Climate change resilience

2019/20 - Black summer bushfires and floods

Over the last few years, we have been working towards resilience in the face of climate change impacts. The 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires burnt out numerous Shoalwater assets and these were then followed by floods that hampered the bushfire recovery efforts. Our operations staff worked tirelessly to get the affected water and sewerage assets back into operation to ensure the community was minimally affected.

image of burnt out sewer pumping station in the Shoalhaven

Image of burnt-out sewage pumping station after the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfires

Shoalhaven Water implements Council’s Sustainable Energy Strategy which outlines priority initiatives to reduce the organisations carbon footprint. Our aim is to reduce our total annual greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2035.

Further Sustainability initiatives being planned and implemented across Shoalhaven City Council can be found at this link: Sustainability | Shoalhaven City Council (nsw.gov.au)