The City of Greater Geraldton embraces renewable energy.

Published on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:00:00 AM


The indoor swimming pools and air temperature inside the City of Greater Geraldton’s Aquarena are now heated using state-of-the-art geothermal technology.

Using innovative heat exchanger technology, water is pumped from 50 metres below the ground to heat two indoor pools and the air inside the centre. The water is then injected back into the ground at another location.

Geothermal energy is renewable and cost efficient, making the Geraldton Aquarena environmentally friendly for a sustainable future.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Ian Carpenter said the geothermal system was a big win environmentally and financially for the City.

“The new system has the potential to cut the Aquarena’s gas consumption by up to 70 % per annum, saving the City of Greater Geraldton around $84,000 every year,” Mayor Carpenter explained.

“Along with the reduction in gas consumption, the geothermal heating system will also have a huge impact in reducing CO2 emissions with an average annual carbon offset of approximately 108 tonnes.”

The Aqaurena geothermal project is the second major renewable energy project for the City of Greater Geraldton after the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery received a geothermal system upgrade in 2014.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor, Ian Carpenter said the art gallery underwent an air-conditioning upgrade last year using a geothermal system that has proven to be extremely efficient.

“The Geraldton Regional Art Gallery gas consumption has been reduced to zero, with electricity savings of approximately $45 000 per annum” he said.

The City of Greater Geraldton has embraced green technology in recent years with the Mid West region now producing 30 percent of the States renewable energy through two privately owned windfarms and one of Australia’s largest solar farms.

The Walkaway Wind Farm, one of Western Australia's largest renewable energy projects, provides 90 megawatts of power into the grid that supplies Perth and the south west.   The wind farm has 54 wind turbines. Each year the wind farm generates energy that replaces fossil fuel sources that would have otherwise produced 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The Mumbida Wind Farm is a 55 MW renewable energy project. The wind farm is located on farming land approximately 40km southeast of Geraldton. The farm utilises 22 x 2.5 MW General Electric wind turbines and has been designed to be expanded to 85MW in the future.

Greenough River Solar Farm is situated on 80 hectares of private land approximately 50km southeast of Geraldton, the solar farm was the first utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) project in Australia. Ten times larger than any other operating solar power plant in the country, the project highlights the immense potential of utility-scale solar to assist Australia in transitioning to a renewable energy future.

Supported by Royalties for Regions funding, the 10 megawatt (MW) Greenough River Solar Farm has potential for expansion to 40MW.

The Aquarena geothermal project received generous funding from the Department of Industry and Science, with the Federal Government generously provided a grant of $795,822 for the works. The remaining funding has been provided by the City.

The total cost for the energy efficiency project was just over $1million. This includes the installation of variable speed drives, pump upgrades, pool blankets and water wise technologies.

The combined energy efficiency upgrades will see a positive return to the City after three years.

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