Homes on the Sunshine Coast could be powered by water in the near future if a new Australian-first hydroelectric turbine project proves successful.
Unitywater is working with Nextera Energy to install two micro hydro electric generators that have been developed by Nextera Energy into the water network to capture lost energy and convert it into renewable green electricity.
Unitywater Manager Technologies Barry Holcroft said the innovative project is expected to commence generating electricity from May 2015 and is forecast to produce about 1.7GWh of energy a year.
“That’s the equivalent of powering 212 Sunshine Coast homes for a year,” Mr Holcroft said.
“The generators are being placed within the water network where water pressure has to be reduced to ensure that it is suitable for use in local homes and businesses.
“A by-product of reducing this pressure is dissipated energy which is simply ‘burned off’ in the forms of noise, heat and vibration.
“By harnessing this energy, which was quite literally disappearing into thin air, we can sell it creating revenue that will help offset Unitywater’s energy costs, contributing to a sustainable future for our community.”
Nextera Energy CEO Paul Camilleri said the company and its investors were funding the ground breaking project because of Unitywater’s commitment to a long term partnership arrangement and would share a percentage of generated revenue with Unitywater.
“By using these ‘Pressure Reduction Generators’ (PRG) we’re helping to offset Unitywater’s electricity costs without damaging the environment,” Mr Camilleri said.
“This is about changing the way we think about our drinking water, specifically in terms of hydroelectricity.
“The opportunities for us to install these turbines within water pipelines across Australia are endless, and who knows, maybe one day the water from your taps may even be able to power your house.”
Mr Holcroft said Unitywater would continue to assess additional locations across the Unitywater network where similar technologies could be implemented.
“It makes sense to work with Nextera Energy to explore additional opportunities to generate energy from our everyday operations,” Mr Holcroft said.