In February 2021, Enerven was announced as a finalist for the 2021 Australian Construction Achievement Awards — a prestigious accolade presented by the Australian Contractors Association and Engineers Australia — for their ‘Zero Cost Energy Future’ project.
One of just four finalists in a competitive field, Leon Cocchiaro, Program Director – Zero Cost Energy Future at Enerven, acknowledges the collaborative efforts that have made such a complex project a great success.
The Zero Cost Energy Future Program is an ambitious renewable energy initiative by SA Water to reduce its operating expenses and deliver significant environmental benefits for South Australia.
As one of South Australia’s largest consumers of electricity, SA Water has an annual bill of more than $80 million for electricity alone.
“In early 2019, Enerven was awarded the contract to deliver the infrastructure which will ultimately unlock SA Water’s potential to achieve their target of net-zero energy costs,” said Leon.
“The program of works is multifaceted — it includes development of the optimised control and coordination of energy across numerous sites together with active demand management practices.”
This project scope included engineering, procuring, constructing, and commissioning of the 242 GWh of solar and 34MWh of energy storage across 33 sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia — in less than 24 months.
“South Australians are already reaping the rewards of this project and the benefits will continue to be delivered to our community long after project completion,” said Leon.
The SA Water Zero Cost Energy Future project is a global first which means innovation has been a key to success.
“Large solar farms are usually constructed on greenfield sites that are fit for purpose and therefore there’s minimal complexity associated with their construction.”
In contrast, the solar farms required for this project have been delivered at existing treatment plants and pumping stations with aged infrastructure — meaning Enerven had to engineer specific solutions for each site’s unique topography, ground and asset condition, and environment.
“Consequently, we have designed and constructed assets that utilise five different racking technologies — including the largest fully moveable, single location solar energy system in the world.”
“We also successfully tackled other challenges and engineered clever solutions for installation, for example on fixed-tilt and rooftop structures, in remote arid regions, and locations less than 80 metres from the ocean.”
“We are proud to be a key player in paving the way for a more sustainable future for South Australia.”
In congratulating all finalists, Engineers Australia CEO, Dr Bronwyn Evans said, “To achieve these extraordinary outcomes in a time of such profound difficulty is a testament to the strength and resilience of Australia’s construction and engineer workforce”.
The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in August 2021.
For more information about the Zero Cost Energy Future project on the SA Water website