Renewable Organics Network

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Barwon Water is partnering with major businesses and local councils on two Renewable Organics Network (RON). These projects will leverage existing water and sewerage infrastructure to reduce the organic waste that currently goes to landfill, create clean renewable energy, reduce costs, generate jobs and drive economic growth in the region.

The Australian-first project is underway in Colac and aims to not only convert organic municipal, commercial and sewerage waste to dispatchable renewable energy but also recycle the waste into value add by-products such as soil enhancers for agricultural purposes.

A regional RON is currently being investigated. We are working with the five councils within the G21 region - City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe and Golden Plains Shire – as well as neighbouring Wyndham City Council and major export manufacturers.

The regional RON will be a processing facility that converts organic matter, which could include food organics, garden organics and biosolids into renewable energy, heat, biogas and soil enhancers. This will use anaerobic digestion, a process that relies on microorganisms to breakdown the organic waste (in the absence of oxygen) into products that can be recycled (like compost / soil enhancers).

Find out more about the Colac RON opportunity in the short animation below, or head on over to our information hub for more details on the regional RON.

Information Hub

Want to know more? Check out the information hub to view the fact sheets and other supporting documents.


Community Information Session

Did you miss the Community Information Session? You can now watch it here:

Barwon Water is partnering with major businesses and local councils on two Renewable Organics Network (RON). These projects will leverage existing water and sewerage infrastructure to reduce the organic waste that currently goes to landfill, create clean renewable energy, reduce costs, generate jobs and drive economic growth in the region.

The Australian-first project is underway in Colac and aims to not only convert organic municipal, commercial and sewerage waste to dispatchable renewable energy but also recycle the waste into value add by-products such as soil enhancers for agricultural purposes.

A regional RON is currently being investigated. We are working with the five councils within the G21 region - City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe and Golden Plains Shire – as well as neighbouring Wyndham City Council and major export manufacturers.

The regional RON will be a processing facility that converts organic matter, which could include food organics, garden organics and biosolids into renewable energy, heat, biogas and soil enhancers. This will use anaerobic digestion, a process that relies on microorganisms to breakdown the organic waste (in the absence of oxygen) into products that can be recycled (like compost / soil enhancers).

Find out more about the Colac RON opportunity in the short animation below, or head on over to our information hub for more details on the regional RON.

Information Hub

Want to know more? Check out the information hub to view the fact sheets and other supporting documents.


Community Information Session

Did you miss the Community Information Session? You can now watch it here:

  • Regional RON - Phase 2 update

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    12 Oct 2020

    The regional Renewable Organics Network has reached a key milestone with Phase 2 investigations now complete. This phase focused on developing a shortlist of commercially and operationally viable options from the longlist developed as part of phase 1.

    During this key phase, we:

    • Refined the longlist into preferred process designs that consider potential input and output requirements from both Barwon Water and councils.
    • Explored potential markets for and technologies to produce nutrient enriched beneficial agribusiness products to enhance regional benefits.
    • Continued to refine the cost benefit analysis to consider forecasted pricing and regional agribusiness opportunities.
    • Introduced the concept to the community and key stakeholders through online resources and an introductory webinar.

    The Australian-first Colac Renewable Organics continues to progress at Barwon Water’s Colac Water Reclamation Plant to enable acceptance of higher-strength organic material from Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods for production of electricity and hot water. The Colac RON is currently under construction with the first stage of renewable energy production to commence by the end of this year and the full facility scheduled for completion by 2022.

    Both the regional and Colac Renewable Organics Networks will take organic material and convert it to renewable energy and beneficial agribusiness products.

    They will create a circular economy for the region’s organic waste, reduce landfill costs for councils and reduce water infrastructure energy costs for Barwon Water customers.

    Barwon Water will continue to keep the community informed on the progress of the project.

    Subscribe to the project page to stay informed.

    Want more information? Check out our information hub for the latest fact sheets and Q&As.

  • Recording - Community Information Session - 15 September 2020

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    A live community information session was held on 15 September 2020.

    The webinar was led by Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter and General Manager for Infrastructure and Technology Shaun Cumming.

    Representatives from Bulla Dairies, Australian Lamb Company and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning also formed part of the panel.

    This information session provided:

    • an overview of the Renewable Organics Network concept
    • an update of the Colac and Regional projects
    • answers to attendees questions

    You can view the recording here.

  • Latest News - Colac RON

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    26 Aug 2020

    In an Australian first, Barwon Water is partnering with two major Australian exporters to deliver the Colac Renewable Energy Network (formerly known as Colac WEB).

    Construction is currently underway at the Colac Water Reclamation Plant to enable acceptance of higher-strength organic waste from the Australian Lamb Company (ALC) and Bulla Dairy Foods, and the subsequent production of electricity and hot water via biogas cogeneration technology.

    Construction of the facility is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, with the cogen installation completed by December 2020.

    Benefits of the Colac Renewable Organics Network include:

    • For the manufacturers, the Colac Renewable Energy Network creates a circular economy, where waste production generates savings on electricity and heating bills and reduces their carbon emissions.
    • For Barwon Water customers, the energy created can be used to power (and reduce intensive energy costs for) the Colac Water Reclamation Plant, keeping our bills affordable.
  • Latest news - Regional RON

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    26 Aug 2020

    Barwon Water is currently working with six councils (City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, Colac Otway Shire, Golden Plains Shire and Wyndham City Council) to investigate opportunities for a Renewable Organic Network for the region.

    There are currently three phases to this investigation with Phase One completed in June 2020.

    The three phases include:

    • Phase One (complete): Longlist options development
    • Phase Two (current): Shortlist options development
    • Phase Three (from September 2020): Viability analysis
  • Community Information Session - 15 September 2020

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    Barwon Water is leading the Australian-first Renewable Organics Networks in Colac. Barwon Water is working with major business and councils to change the way we process organic material to generate renewable energy.

    A recording of the webinar from Tuesday 15 September will be available soon.

    Barwon Water is helping the Victorian Government power a jobs and renewable energy boom in the state’s south west thanks to the nation’s first Renewable Organics Networks.