Yarra Valley Water is among the first water utilities in the world to sign the global Pledge to Net Zero as part of its work to generate renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Pledge to Net Zero marks a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It has been established to support the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, which rallies leadership and support for the transition to a net zero carbon economy.
Pat McCafferty, managing director at Yarra Valley Water, said the pledge reinforced the organisation’s commitments to go beyond zero carbon and create a brighter future for the community and environment. He elaborated: “Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we’re proud to be leading the way in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions with ambitious targets that go beyond compliance.
“In line with the Victorian Government’s strong renewable energy targets, we’re already committed to generating 100% renewable energy by 2025, and we’re halfway towards achieving this goal with 50% of our operations now powered by renewables.
“We’ve achieved this through leading projects like our food waste to energy facility at Wollert, which converts about 30,000 tonnes of food scraps into more than 7,000,000kWh of clean energy a year. We’ve also installed solar panels at our head office and treatment plants and we’re members of Zero Emissions Water which purchases energy in bulk from Victoria’s largest solar farm.”
Under Victoria’s Water for Victoria plan, the state’s water sector committed to leading on climate change and setting ambitious emissions reduction targets on the path to net zero.
Yarra Valley Water committed to reducing its annual emissions down to just 11,664 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2025 – a 63% reduction in emissions compared to what it was emitting each year between 2011 and 2016.
This means Yarra Valley Water is well placed to contribute towards Victoria achieving its ambitious emissions reduction targets. “We’re working on how we will accelerate our progress to hit net zero by 2025, and then using the offsets we generate to go beyond zero carbon to address legacy emissions,” McCafferty added.
McCafferty said new projects, including the development of a second food waste to energy facility and expansive new floating solar installations, would help Yarra Valley Water reach its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Yarra Valley Water is a member of Leading Utilities of the World, a global network of innovative water utilities, which encourages members to make the Pledge to Net Zero. Organisations making the pledge agree to publicly report greenhouse gas emissions, publish a paper each year outlining ways to achieve net zero carbon or support smaller signatories to set and meet targets.
McCafferty explained making the pledge highlighted how the path to net zero can be achieved by partnerships on a global scale. “We all need to do our bit to decarbonise our fuel to meet global climate change targets,” he said. “The Victorian water industry is impacted by climate change while also being a major consumer of power. We’re committed to advancing commercially viable projects that benefit the environment.”