Sun set to power local wastewater treatment: Ballina Shire

Sun set to power local wastewater treatment

Ballina Shire Council has committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity operations by 2030. A key component of this ambitious target is the ongoing roll out of solar power across Council facilities.

Since 2017 Council has installed 11 solar farms on Council sites, including the Ballina Wastewater Treatment Plant, Council’s Administration Centre and Works Depot, and community facilities such as the Lennox Head Cultural Centre and public swimming pools.

As part of Council’s Water and Wastewater solar strategy, a combined 150kW solar system is being installed this week at the Alstonville and Wardell Wastewater Treatment Plants, using the innovative 5B Maverick solar solution.

This innovative solar technology is designed and manufactured in Australia. Its pre-mounted and pre-wired arrays can be deployed twice as fast, with less manual intervention, than conventional ground-mounted solar, and generates twice the amount of energy from the same footprint of land.

Wastewater treatment plants operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat our shire’s wastewater.

“Once complete, Council’s Water and Wastewater solar strategy will see the installation of almost 1MW of solar at our wastewater treatment sites, which will double Council’s current solar generation,” explained Ballina Shire Council’s Mayor, Ms Sharon Cadwallader.

“The installation of these innovative panels is just one way Council is supporting renewable energy use and is part of our Climate Change policy, which outlines ambitious organisational emissions reduction targets and provides a framework for progressing climate change strategies for Council and the community.

“Council is currently generating 10 per cent of its electricity needs from onsite solar installations. The wastewater treatment plant installations will increase solar generation to 20 per cent within the next 12 months.”

5B Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chris McGrath, said local councils play an important role in decarbonising NSW.

“This supports Australia’s ambition to cut emissions this decade by 43 per cent from 2005 levels. It is great to see Ballina rebuilding with an eye on the future of energy generation for the benefit of future generations,” said Mr McGrath.

A 100kW system will be installed at Alstonville Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will produce 31 per cent of its existing power needs and will decrease the power bill by approximately 26 per cent.

A 50kW system will be installed at Wardell Wastewater Treatment Plan, which will produce 55 per cent of the current power needs of the plant.

This project is a significant step towards Council achieving its climate change targets.

Ballina Shire Council’s climate action

Ballina Shire Council has a long history in taking climate change action. In 2019 Council declared a state of Climate Emergency and in response a new Climate Change Policy was adopted in 2021.

The Climate Change policy sets organisational emissions reduction targets, and provides a framework for progressing climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies for Council and the community.

The Council’s targets are more ambitious than the NSW and Australian Governments and aim to achieve rapid emissions reduction by:

  • Using 100 per cent renewable electricity for its operations by 2030.
  • Reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero emissions by 2030.

This year Council commenced development of a corporate action plan that sets out the pathway to achieve the 2030 goals.

The draft Climate Change Policy also looks at ways to progress climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies within the Ballina Shire community.

Council has joined the Cities Power Partnership (CPP), a free national program run by the Climate Council. It is the largest local government climate program in Australia with more than 170 member councils.

The program connects councils throughout Australia to share knowledge and best practice on climate and clean energy solutions. It also helps councils to promote and celebrate their successes through media and events, including an annual national awards program.

The program presents an opportunity for Council to demonstrate leadership in working with other local governments to address climate change. More information on the Cities Power Partnership can be found at citiespowerpartnership.org.au

About 5B

5B is a Sydney-based clean technology innovator on a mission to accelerate the planet’s transition to fast, easy, ultra-low-cost clean energy by harnessing the full power of the sun.

5B has transformed the delivery of solar projects with its prefabricated, modular, scalable, rapidly deployable flagship 5B Maverick solar technology.

It has a growing base of more than 50 customers served by a global network of 5B Ecosystem Partners. For more information visit 5b.co

It’s Australian innovation at its best – designed and manufactured in Australia.

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