Latrobe City Council has delivered a range of sustainability initiatives throughout 2020/21 to support the goal of achieving healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.
Council was recently accepted as a finalist in the Premier’s Sustainability Awards to acknowledge the impact of these initiatives towards achieving an environmentally sustainable future.
Feature Project: Commissioning the Landfill Biogas Generator
An innovative way of treating a greenhouse gas may save Council up to $900,000 per year.
The Biogas Generator at Hyland Highway Landfill which was commissioned in August, harvests methane gas, a natural product of decomposition, to power a turbine that produces electricity.
The gas drives a 901kw Jenbacher gas engine/generator instead of being ‘flared off’ (burned), and is cleaned and dried before entering the gas engine.
Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said the project places Latrobe City at the forefront of Victorian councils adopting innovative waste management and renewable energy technologies.
“It has the capacity to net off 70 per cent of Council’s electricity demand, saving millions of dollars to Council over the life of the landfill, and reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint for Latrobe City Council,” she said.
“Although this technology is widely used in private waste management, only a few councils have cogeneration infrastructure.”
Council funded the $1.6 million project from its landfill reserve and will return the funds to this reserve within the timeframe for return on investment – two years. Modelling shows that up to 7000 MWh of electricity would be generated per year when the generator is operating at full capacity (Council’s current electricity load is around 7400 MWh) and that methane production will increase until 2032.
School based tours to the landfill will recommence from 2022, where students will have the opportunity to learn more about the new Biogas Generator and other sustainability initiatives at the Ecogeni Sustainability Education Centre, also located at the Hyland Highway Landfill.
Any school or community group wishing to make a booking for a ‘WasteSmart’ tour or visit the Education Centre should contact Resource Recovery and Environment at Latrobe City on 1300 367 700 or at RRE@latrobe.vic.gov.au
Delivery of Geothermal heating of the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre
In a regional first, the heating design of the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre in Traralgon uses deep bore geothermal heat for the entire facility. The system reduces the centre’s carbon footpath and significantly decreases operational costs for the five pools, state-of-the-art indoor gymnasium, café and office space contained within the centre.
Expanded our solar network and installation of lighting upgrade
In 2020 Council installed a further 365 kWh of PV solar - bringing Council’s solar energy supply to 554 kW. This, coupled with the rollout of energy- efficient lighting at Council’s central offices in Morwell, demonstrate how Council is working to reduce its emissions.
Exceeded our annual target to offset Council Fleet Vehicle emissions
During 2020, Council exceeded its annual target of 7,000 trees to offset its fleet vehicle emissions by planting over 22,000 trees and shrubs across urban waterways and reserves. This was enabled by the Victorian Government’s ‘Working for Victoria - COVID Response Plan’. We hope that these projects inspire other initiatives across Local Government as we respond collectively to deliver a sustainable future for our communities.