Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline to be solar powered
SA Water delivers safe, clean water and dependable sewerage services. It is a corporation owned by the people of South Australia, and are committed to providing their 1.6 million customers with trusted water services that represent excellent value.
SA Water plans a zero-cost energy future by powering its largest drinking water pipeline, Morgan–Whyalla Pipeline, with 19,000 solar panels, which is capable of generating 14,000MW/h of clean, green energy. The solar panels are located at the pipeline’s third pump station in Geranium Plains and is participating in the National Electricity Market.
From SA Water’s Morgan Water Treatment Plant, this concrete pipeline transports treated, high-quality drinking water from the River Murray across to the Upper Spencer Gulf region, which is around 358kms.
To track the sun from east to west throughout the day, solar panels are constructed on a pivoted racking system. These solar panels will help reduce SA Water’s operational costs by harnessing green energy and thereby reducing the pumping expenses without affecting the pump station’s overall performance.
The direct current (DC) voltage captured by the panels is converted into high-voltage alternating current (AC) energy, where it travels underground to a connection point for use at the pump station. Any excess electricity generated at the site can be sold back to national grid.
SA Water has already installed more than 500,000 solar panels across the state at various sites including Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Adelaide Desalination Plant. These produce a total of 242 GWh of green energy each year. The positive impact of their zero-cost energy future project has led to a total emissions reduction equivalent to planting more than seven million trees or removing more than 30,000 motor vehicles from the road every year of operation.
“Given the Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline is responsible for delivering clean, safe drinking water to tens of thousands of our customers from the Riverland, Barossa, Mid North and Upper Spencer Gulf regions, the energy requirements to pump such volumes of water are significant,” SA Water Senior Manager Zero Cost Energy Future Nicola Murphy said.
“The array is one of four being installed along the Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline, with a further 15,000 solar panels at the fourth pump station outside Robertstown aiming to be energised by mid-2021,” she said.
SA Water’s electricity cost for 2019-20 was approximately $86 million. Their extensive water and wastewater operations makes them one of South Australia’s largest electricity consumers. Increasing their renewable energy generation is the only way to sustainably reduce their operating expenses. Only that will help them keep prices low and stable for their customers. The plan to power the Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline with solar is definitely a move in this regard as well as a positive move by SA towards achieving a zero-cost energy future.