G21 Region Renewable Organics Network

Environment Pillar

Barwon Water is partnering with the five councils in the G21 region and major export manufacturers on opportunities for two Renewable Organic Networks.

The two Renewable Organics Networks will transform significant amounts of organic municipal and trade waste currently sent to landfill and water reclamation plants respectively into dispatchable renewable energy and agricultural soil enhancers.

The projects will create a circular economy for the region’s organic waste, reduce landfill costs for councils and reduce water infrastructure energy costs for Barwon Water customers.

The projects will also create more than 80 new jobs across the construction and ongoing facility management stages.

They will boost energy production for electricity supply into the local grid and for the Colac project, will also transfer heat via an innovative hot water network to offset gas usage for Australian Lamb Company.

Renewable Organics Network partnership with councils

The project with the five councils in the G21 region will investigate building a renewable energy facility for organic waste collected by local councils.

  • Within the G21 region, 20,000 tonnes of food organic waste that could be transformed into renewable energy and soil fertiliser products is currently sent to landfill.
  • 73,000 tonnes of kerbside organic waste is collected by councils each year. Some of this already gets reused productively as compost, for example, and that will stay that way; but any green waste for which there isn’t a productive reuse could go to the local Renewable Organics Network.

The partnerships will look at the viability of a purpose-built facility, likely located on a Barwon Water site.

Benefits of the G21-region project include:

  • organic waste management security for council as the region’s population grows
  • diverting significant organic municipal and trade waste away from costly landfill and instead converting this into dispatchable renewable energy
  • creation of 20+ jobs, knowledge and skills
  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions through landfill diversion and renewable energy
  • reduced energy costs for waste-to-landfill disposal
  • reduced energy costs and greenhouse emissions for water treatment infrastructure.

The project with the councils in the G21 region is in its early stages of development but if all key milestones are met Barwon Water is estimating completion by the end of 2023.

Renewable Organics Network Colac

An Australian-first Renewable Organics Network is being built in Colac to use high-strength organic waste from Australian Lamb Company (ALC) and Bulla Dairy Foods for production of electricity and hot water.

The project is expected to create 17 construction jobs and 45 ongoing jobs.

Other benefits of the Renewable Organics Network Colac project include:

  • the net production of 5.5 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity each year
  • approximately 50% of this renewable electricity will be used “behind-the-meter” to take the Colac Water Reclamation Plant off-grid electricity
  • the remaining renewable electricity generated will be exported into the grid
  • renewable hot water will also be generated by the project and supplied to ALC via an innovative hot water pipeline, which offsets ALC’s natural gas consumption from the grid by 21.4 terajoules each year – equivalent to the gas usage of 350 households.
  • overall, the generation of this dispatchable renewable energy in the form of hot water and electricity results in carbon emissions being reduced by 6,300 tonnes each year.