SDGs should be top priority for utilities now and in future | Ozwater

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SDGs should be top priority for utilities now and in future

Posted 7 May 2018


Helping organisations navigate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in future is a key focus at this year’s Ozwater’18. In line with that theme, Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) and Seqwater identified how they’re working towards becoming next-wave sustainable utilities. 

The major sponsor of Ozwater’18 and the exhibition theatre, QUU aims to be a leader in environmental sustainability. As part of this, its Energy Strategist Glen Taylor has led the development of the organisation’s energy strategy.

“Energy is critical to delivering water and sewerage services and is particularly important in the sewage treatment process. As a result, it contributes significantly to the cost of our operations,” he said. 

“We set out to develop a strategy and roadmap to reduce our energy costs and carbon footprint by looking at efficient and effective investment opportunities and operational changes.”

Taylor said the utility took stock of internal and external energy drivers – including greenhouse gas reduction targets, local government policy and detailed operations costs – to get a grasp on opportunities for savings and optimisation. 

“We reflected on our corporate goal of environmental leadership in order to ensure the energy strategy aligned with this policy,” Taylor said. 

“We also consulted with a wide range of our staff to receive their feedback and insights. From this process, we developed a formal strategy which outlines our energy objectives, areas of focus and strategic targets. 

“This enabled us to have sensible conversations driven by data, using a detailed breakdown of energy sources, consumption points, costs and trends. We were able to work together to identify energy system drivers and areas of opportunity.

“I would encourage other organisations who are on a similar journey to engage widely and openly across their organisation and industry. People are genuinely curious about energy and we found that building people’s understanding also made them eager to help along the way.”

Seqwater is also a major sponsor of Ozwater’18 and the conference education program. Its  Asset Strategy Officer Nonso Okafor said the company has been developing its Energy Strategy, while keeping a focus on benefits to the end-user. 

“Seqwater is committed to transforming into a financially sustainable and efficient water utility and the business is continuing to explore opportunities, targeted at improved operational excellence,” Okafor said.  

“We recognise that energy is a critical input into our activities, with electricity costs representing around 10% of Seqwater’s overall operating expenditure. 

“We have developed an energy strategy which provides strategic direction for Seqwater to optimise its energy consumption and better manage its energy related activities, which will in turn deliver greater outcomes for the community we serve.” 

Okafor said the strategy’s development also focuses on identifying opportunities to generate renewable green energy in future, while maximising the organisation’s water supply infrastructure.

“The energy strategy aligns with our organisation’s strategic and operating plan and is developed in consultation with staff members across core areas of the business,” he said. 

“Strategic objectives have been articulated around key focus areas including; developing a sustainable energy culture; using energy more efficiently, optimising energy purchasing arrangements and energy generation to offset demand.

“Based on these strategic objectives, we have developed a list of specific initiatives and activities, as well as established a governance structure to ensure efficient and effective delivery and realisation of the strategy objectives.”

You can still register on-site for Ozwater’18 and make the most of the QUU sponsored exhibition theatre and the Seqwater sponsored education program. 

Here are some other SDG-focused sessions to attend: 

- Tuesday, 8 May: One size doesn't fit all: Scaling water solutions to achieve the global sustainable development goals, with Shona Fitzgerald (Sydney Water)

- Tuesday, 8 May: Bridging the gap: Building human resource capacity in Cambodia for sustainable development in wash sector, with Fatima Shehata (Center for Sustainable Water)

- Tuesday, 8 May: An introduction to SDG bonds and implications for finance in the water sector with Andrew Lawson (ANZ Bank)


Related article:
Future-proofing the water industry

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