South Australia Water Zero Cost Energy Future Program

Various locations across South Australia

Award of Merit, Water/Wastewater

Submitted By: Aurecon

Owner: SA Water

Lead Design Firm: Aurecon

General Contractor: Enerven

Project Delivery: KBR

Consultant: Clutch Consulting

In 2019, electricity was costing SA Water $83 million per year, its single-largest operational expense. The agency sought a sustainable and renewable solution to cut costs. The resulting Zero Cost Energy Future (ZCEF) program installed more than 360,000 solar panels at 33 sites, generating 242 gigawatt hours of electricity with 34 hours of battery storage, while reducing annual carbon emissions by 89,000 tons. The team avoided COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions through early procurement, meeting its ambitious two-year timeline.

Constructed and installed in a diverse range of environments—from remote arid regions to the Riverland—the project team used five different solar racking technologies, including the world’s largest relocatable 5B Maverick system, a PEG system, tracking, fixed-tilt and rooftop structures.

In the absence of existing solutions on the market, the project team built an Energy Management System and used a suite of custom technology tools to help make decisions about generation, storage and operation load. Excess energy generated  by the installations will be sold back to the grid, creating an additional revenue stream.

ENR 2022 Global Best Projects (PDF)
(Requires Subscription)