SA Water has an ambitious plan to achieve zero net electricity costs by 2020, through a renewable energy generation program.
SA Water currently serves 1.6 million people across the state at an energy cost of $55 million per annum, but reducing operational expenses sustainably will help keep customers’ bills low and stable, according to SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux.
"The 2020 target will be progressed through a range of complementary initiatives that will see mature technologies embraced for immediate impact. A range of innovative emerging technologies will also be tested in partnership with local and international providers," he said.
"It’s important to be bold when it comes to innovation and achieving the kind of leaps we are after."
SA Water plans to invest $10 million on up to 6MW of solar photovoltaic panels, which will be installed across some of the utility's metropolitan sites, with installations expected to commence this year.
"We’ve already been reducing our electricity costs by more than $3 million a year since 2013, so we know that with a concerted push, our goal is ambitious, but within reach," Cheroux said.
"Every step we make towards it will deliver savings for our business, and therefore our customers."
SA Water's existing energy management portfolio includes biogas power generation from sewage treatment and the use of hydroelectric systems that harness the force of moving water within the network to generate electricity.
The utility's Bolivar and Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plants are now over 80 per cent energy self-sufficient.
"Our sustained focus on renewable energy generation is also helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions and contributing to greenhouse gas reduction targets," Cheroux mentioned.
"In recent research activities, our customers confirmed that using or generating renewable energy was their preferred way for us to achieve further reductions."
Learn more about the state of SA Water at the SA 2018 Water Outlook Breakfast Briefing