City-scale analysis of water-related energy identifies more cost-effective solutions.
Energy and greenhouse gas management in urban water systems typically focus on optimising within the direct system boundary of water utilities that covers the centralised water supply and wastewater treatment systems, despite a greater energy influence by the water end use. This work develops a cost curve of water-related energy management options from a city perspective for a hypothetical Australian city. It is compared with that from the water utility perspective. The curves are based on 18 water-related energy management options that have been implemented or evaluated in Australia. In the studied scenario, the cost-effective energy saving potential from a city perspective (292 GWh/year) is far more significant than that from a utility perspective (65 GWh/year). In some cases, for similar capital cost, if regional water planners invested in end use options instead of utility options, a greater energy saving potential at a greater cost-effectiveness could be achieved in urban water systems. For example, upgrading a wastewater treatment plant for biogas recovery at a capital cost of $27.2 million would save 31 GWh/year with a marginal cost saving of $63/MWh, while solar hot water system rebates at a cost of $28.6 million would save 67 GWh/year with a marginal cost saving of $111/MWh. Options related to hot water use such as water-efficient shower heads, water-efficient clothes washers and solar hot water system rebates are among the most cost-effective city-scale opportunities. This study demonstrates the use of cost curves to compare both utility and end use options in a consistent framework. It also illustrates that focusing solely on managing the energy use within the utility would miss substantial non-utility water-related energy saving opportunities. There is a need to broaden the conventional scope of cost curve analysis to include water-related energy and greenhouse gas at the water end use, and to value their management from a city perspective. This would create opportunities where the same capital investment could achieve far greater energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions abatement.
Lam, KL; Kenway, SJ; Lant, PA
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