Colac Waste to Energy Biogrid

Economic Development Pillar

The Opportunity

The Colac Waste-to-Energy Biogrid (WEB) is a world-class example of complementary businesses partnering to solve their waste disposal and energy supply challenges.

The project will convert waste resources from neighbouring manufacturers into renewable energy for use by these manufacturers. 

The Colac WEB is being led by Barwon Water in partnership with leading export manufacturing businesses in the Colac region. 

The project will see waste from these manufacturers converted into dispatchable renewable energy using bioenergy technology.

In an Australian first, the renewable energy created by the project will be shared between the businesses as heat via the transfer of hot water in insulated pipes.  It will also help to meet on-site electricity needs and could be sold back into the electricity grid. 

The project offers the potential to reduce collective reliance on grid electricity and natural gas – significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the businesses. 

Barwon Water is leading the project as part of its commitment to enabling regional prosperity. The water authority is innovating with local businesses to secure their energy supply, reduce waste and emissions, keep their electricity and waste disposal costs down and secure local jobs.

The renewable energy produced by the project will also be used by Barwon Water to help achieve its goal of zero net emissions by 2030, which will help reduce the authority’s operating costs and keep customers’ bills low.

The collaborative, innovative model underpinning the project is replicable wherever there is a group of neighbouring manufacturers and a water authority that can help to facilitate collective action.

Project Aim

The Colac WEB aims to:

  • Generate integrated, distributed and dispatchable renewable energy through a new form of industrial micro-grid, including a hot water network.
  • Generate economic growth via enhanced energy productivity, allowing export businesses to grow with reduced grid demand.
  • Accelerate renewable energy adoption across multiple industry sectors by facilitating collective rather than individual action.
  • Demonstrate that the WEB model can be replicated wherever there is a cluster of manufacturers and a local water authority able to fulfil the role of trusted enabler.
  • Increase skills, capacity and knowledge about waste-to-energy opportunities across multiple industry sectors.

Project Champion

Shaun Cumming, General Manager Infrastructure and Technology Barwon Water

Benefits for Victoria and the G21 Region

The Colac WEB will:

  • Turn thousands of tonnes of waste into renewable energy
  • Prevent this waste from going to landfill or other unsustainable waste practises
  • Deliver an Australian-first approach to sharing energy through a hot water network
  • Showcase the benefits of dispatchable renewable energy for the manufacturing industry – available 24/7, not reliant on sun to shine or wind to blow
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of key manufacturing and water businesses by offsetting thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year
  • Reduce collective reliance on grid electricity and natural gas
  • Generate regional economic growth by securing the future of key manufacturing industries in the Colac region
  • Position Colac and the G21 region as world leaders in industrial symbiosis

What has been committed

The State Government has committed:

  • $240,000 towards development of a business case for the Colac WEB. 

The Federal Government has not committed any funding towards the Colac WEB, however the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has invited the project to be considered for funding under the Advancing Renewables Program.

What is required

A Government commitment of:

  • funding towards capital expenditure necessary for the Colac WEB is required.