Yeppoon Sewage Treatment Plant to transition to solar energy and offset power costs


The Yeppoon Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), one of Council’s major power consuming utilities, is moving towards a renewable and environmentally compatible energy source.   

With preliminary works beginning earlier this month, the contract has been awarded to Solgen Energy Group.

Portfolio holder of Water, Waste Management and the Environment, Councillor Andrea Friend, said the transition would significantly reduce Council’s ongoing power consumption currently supplied from the electricity grid. 

“Livingstone Shire Council is embarking on a project which involves the installation of an array of photo-voltaic solar panels with inverters and battery storage at the recently upgraded sewage treatment plant,” she said. 

“The recent expansion of the sewage treatment plant has increased its capacity from 21,000 equivalent persons (EP) to 31,000 EP, catering for the population growth of Yeppoon for at least the next 10 years.

“The project is to install a 550kW array of photo-voltaic solar panels with inverters and 1953kW battery storage at the Yeppoon Sewage Treatment to generate approximately 990MWHr of electricity per year, which is a power saving of approximately 69%.

With a total cost of almost $3 million, the project is jointly funded by the Queensland Government contributing $2.8 million under the Building our Regions program, along with Livingstone Shire Council, contributing $189,000.”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said Yeppoon’s Sewage Treatment Plant would be the first in Central Queensland to use renewable energy in a significant way to reduce running costs and its impact on the environment. 

“We want to see these projects underway as soon as possible to boost jobs and business confidence and underpin our transition to a more environmentally friendly renewable energy source,” Ms Lauga said.   

Future population growth will increase the electricity demand of the plant and this renewable energy supply will continue to deliver operational cost savings, whilst enabling the potential to expand. 

Cr Friend said this project will be the first significant renewable energy infrastructure in the Shire and will be a major step towards Council fulfilling the community’s desire to be an environmental leader.  

“The project will largely remove infrastructure with high power consumption from the electricity grid and provide an alternative and ongoing renewable energy source,” she said.  

“This initial stage will allow the plant to be completely powered by the solar facility during daylight hours, while directing any surplus power generated during the day to battery storage for use during the night. 

“In less favourable conditions, the treatment plant will revert back to the electricity grid for back-up power supply.”  

Council has the option to expand the solar power facility in a modular fashion to accommodate increased demand. 

“Converting to a renewable energy supply will reduce Council’s carbon footprint by reducing the production of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. Council and this community should be very proud of their efforts in moving down this path,” Cr Friend said.  

This project follows on from the recent completion in 2020 of the $16.4 million upgrade to the Yeppoon STP, $5 million of which was contributed by the State Government through its Building our Regions program. 

The solar power supply project is expected to be completed by late February 2022.