Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy
Climate change and variability are widely agreed to be the factors most affecting water supply across Australia. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are viewed as a key contributor and will have a significant global impact in regards to our future weather conditions, including increased temperatures and lower rainfall.
In securing the ACT’s water supply, ACTEW Corporation is undertaking construction and operation of large infrastructure projects which will require ongoing energy use. On World Environment Day 2009, ACTEW announced its Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy for the water security projects. The strategy was developed with assistance from Exigency Management for ACTEW.
What will be offset?
As part of ACTEW’s ongoing commitment to the environment, we will be reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions during the construction and operation of the water security projects.
How will greenhouse emissions be reduced and offset?
ACTEW's abatement strategy for reducing and offsetting the GHG emissions includes:
- the use of biodiesel as a clean burning alternative fuel;
- construction of a hydro generator for energy recovery in the Murrumbidgee to Googong Water Transfer;
- purchasing permanent carbon sink forestry offsets in Australia; and
- reducing the impact via our planning processes.
Reducing emissions is one of ACTEW’s priorities and emissions will be avoided and reduced in the first instance, with offsets being pursued where they are needed. Two reputable and experienced organisations have developed a diverse portfolio of carbon sink forestry offsets: AusCarbon and CO2 Australia.
Where offsets are necessary, ACTEW will only pursue those that are real, measurable, permanent, additional and independently verifiable. Our intention is to develop offsets within the ACT region if possible, rather than outside of Australia.
ACTEW has investigated the feasibility of other abatement measures such as:
- renewable energy options of wood waste, wind and solar;
- geothermal and geoexchange potential in the ACT; and
- use of ‘green’ cement with low emissions associated with its production.
These measures are not currently shortlisted for the water security projects.
Why are you using biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources such as plant oils, animal fats, used cooking oil and even new sources such as algae. It is biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulphur and aromatics. Biodiesel will be sourced from a manufacturer(s) that uses sustainable feedstocks (e.g. used cooking oil, tallow, canola oil) and not from palm oil. It will also be required to meet the requirements of the Diesel Fuel Quality Standard. The CSIRO has found that biodiesel can emit nearly 90% less total life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than extra-low sulphur petro diesel.
What is ACTEW's proposal for hydro generation?
Hydro generation has been included in the engineering design for the Murrumbidgee to Googong Water Transfer. ACTEW is installing a mini-hydro system near the outlet structure of the pipeline. The system will comprise a turbine and generator, and will be located below ground with some minor above ground auxiliary components. The power generated will be delivered back to the pumping station on the Murrumbidgee River and is expected to provide about 20% to 30% of its power needs.
How will you manage offsets?
We are committed to pursuing a diverse portfolio of offsets through experienced and reputable organisations to ensure they are highly effective. With the key elements of the use of biodiesel and the hydro generator, ACTEW is able to pursue forest sink offsets and maintain its risk mitigation approach of diversification.
How much will it cost?
The cost for reducing and offsetting the GHG emissions associated with the construction and operation of the water security projects, will cost approximately $1 million per year over a 30 year period.