THE NEWCASTLE West wastewater treatment plant is now being powered by solar energy, making it one of the first in Ireland to use sustainable energy.
Newcastle West was selected, along with Nenagh, Co Tipperary, as part of a pilot project to pioneer the scheme, the effect of which will be to reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.
The pilot project has been run by Irish Water in partnership with Limerick City and County Council and involved installing 112 solar panels within the grounds of the treatment plant.
“The solar panels will generate 26,500kWh, kilowatt hours, each year and will provide a clean, renewable and secure supply of energy for the plant,” a spokesman for Irish Water said. Carbon emissions, as a result, will be reduced by 11 tonnes a year.
Treating wastewater requires a huge amount of energy, according to Stephen Seymour, Capital Portfolio Delivery Manager with Irish Water.
“ In fact, Irish Water is one of the largest energy users in the country,” Mr Seymour said. “We are committed to becoming more sustainable and improving our energy efficiency year on year.”
“We expect this pilot project to show how moving to solar energy and becoming more energy efficient will improve our energy profile, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money.”
Following the success of this pilot programme, Irish Water is undertaking a feasibility study to see how solar energy can be rolled out to water and wastewater treatment plants across the country, with a further 15-20 sites proposed.
The installation works at Newcastle West were carried out by Saliis Limited on behalf of Irish Water and were completed in June 2019.