Water Journal : Water Journal November 2012-1
refereed paper carbon footprint water NOVEMBER 2012 79 weekly household water expenses by 14 cents a week should costs be fully passed-through. This is shown in the context of the Federal Government’s forecast effects on household expenditure in Table 3. IPART’s determination (2012) includes the estimated carbon price impacts, but overall will mean that most residential customers’ water and sewerage bills will decrease slightly in real terms over Sydney Water’s determination period to 2015–16. Supply chain hot-spots The footprint analysis showed that major carbon-intensive categories in Sydney Water’s supply chain include capital works, water purchasing, chemicals, maintenance contracts and waste disposal (Figure 3). These high-level results provide a focus for more detailed analysis and management of carbon in the supply chain. With the potential future improvement of the footprint tool to include a carbon price indicator, Sydney Water may be able to identify a carbon cost pass-through for each supply category. Although they have a relatively low emissions factor, finance and banking services have a significant carbon footprint due to high borrowings to fund capital expenditure. Responding to the carbon price Sydney Water is managing the cost of carbon to the business and identifying opportunities arising from Australia’s move towards a low carbon future. Since 2007, Sydney Water has implemented a Climate Change Strategy to effectively identify and address the risks associated with climate change. Sydney Water has introduced renewable energy projects that supply around 20% of our energy needs. In conjunction with energy efficiency improvements, these projects have reduced our emissions by 90,000 tonnes CO2 - e a year. This represents an avoided carbon cost of over $2 million a year. The completion of major capital works in 2010, including the desalination plant, also helped reduce our footprint, as did the suspension of water transfers from the Shoalhaven River by the Sydney Catchment Authority, which peaked during the drought in 2007–08 . These trends are shown in the carbon footprint analysis in Figure 1 (Sydney Water, 2011). Sydney Water’s new Energy and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategy will continue to focus on managing our energy and electricity emissions. It aims to reduce emissions by a further 40,000 tonnes a year, which will save another $1 million in carbon costs and even more in energy costs. Sydney Water is actively reducing its footprint and the impact of energy and carbon costs by: • Optimising our renewable energy plants and continuing to pursue energy efficiencies; • Continuing to assess opportunities to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, using our in-house Cost of Carbon Abatement Tool (Woods et al., 2011); • Moving towards sustainable procurement to reduce the carbon footprints of the products we buy and encourage our suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint; • Continuing to reduce waste and reuse biosolids and improve water efficiency; • Reviewing investment opportunities under the Federal Government’s carbon price and Clean Energy Future package. Beyond the regulation and pricing of carbon emissions, increasing and volatile electricity prices create a significant financial incentive for Sydney Water to reduce both direct and supply chain energy consumption and increase renewable energy sources. The move to energy-intensive water recycling, tighter water and wastewater quality standards and the need to service a growing population will continue to place upward pressure on our footprint. Water-savings efforts of our customers supported through programs such as WaterFix have influenced household energy use as well as contributing towards reducing Sydney Water’s total carbon footprint. With rising electricity prices and the carbon price, further opportunities for water authorities to influence our customers’ use of energy may emerge. Footprint Tool discussion The results show that the Footprint Tool is suitable for calculating a robust, organisational-level, full supply chain footprint that is able to be used to examine the potential for carbon cost pass-through by suppliers. A key and time-consuming challenge in using the Footprint Tool is allocating financial accounts data to the footprint consumption categories. However, the initial effort in doing this is not required for future years. Once the allocations are established, it is relatively simple and efficient to apply the footprint to different years and subcomponents (for example, the separate examination of the operational and capital footprints). Table 3. Effects on average weekly household expenditure of a $23 carbon price in 2012–13 including water costs estimated for a typical Sydney Water customer (using 200 kL/year of potable water). Weekly expenditure ($/week) Electricity 3.30 Gas 1.50 Food 0.80 Water 0.14 Other 4.16 Overall Effect 9.90 Notes: 1. These estimates are averages. Actual expenditure may vary depending on household size, composition, preferences, energy sources and water use. 2. Expenditure on water is from Sydney Water’s carbon cost estimates. Other data is from Australian Government (2011) Clean energy future. The total includes other impacts. 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 Other Finance & banking Printing & administration Maintenance supplies Waste Professional services Maintenance contracts Chemicals Bulk water SCA & BOO Capital works projects Tonnes CO2-e NOTE: excludes desalination capital works and energy supply chain Figure 3. Sydney Water’s forecast carbon intensive supply categories for 2012–13.
Water Journal December 2012
Water Journal September 2012-1