SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future

SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future

SA Water is taking a pro-active approach to managing energy price risk and through its Zero Cost Energy Future (ZCEF) program is installing a total 154MW of behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic (PV) energygeneration and 17 MW (34 MWh) battery energy storage systems at more than 30 of its operational sites. ZCEF aims to reduce our annual net electricity cost to zero to delivering cost reduction to South Australian customers. 

As part of ZCEF, we are developing an integrated Energy Management System (EMS) to optimise operation of treatment and pumping facilities to minimise costs and maximise benefits from our new energy generation assets, while ensuring service delivery and continuity.

The EMS will bring together real-time information on current energy market and water and wastewater system status, and short-term forecasts of energy market prices, solar PV generation and water demand to determine optimum operational decisions for the best energy price and service delivery outcomes.

The system will utilise state-of-the-art energy analysis and real-time decision support systems, including Tesla Autobidder to manage the operation of its distributed battery fleet; and PLEXOS modelling and optimisation software to provide decision support for operating its flexible load.


Dr. Robert May, Energy Optimisation Specialist, Energy Portfolio Team | SA Water

 Robert is currently Energy Optimisation Specialist within the Energy Portfolio Team at SA Water, and is responsible for the development of intelligent systems for the co-optimisation of water and energy asset operations as part of Zero Cost Energy Future.

Robert is an engineer/data scientist with a career spanning over 18 years in the municipal water and wastewater sector throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America; with experience in a broad range of technical engineering and management roles, covering treatment plant operation, network management, asset management, and research and development for water, wastewater and recycled water systems.

Robert’s academic qualifications include a PhD in machine learning applied to water engineering applications, and BEng (Chem) and BSc (Biochemistry and Applied Mathematics) degrees from the University of Adelaide. He has also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Adelaide for over 10 years.

Ashley Nicholls, Energy Portfolio Manager | SA Water

Ashley Nicholls is the Energy Portfolio Manager at SA Water. Ashley has held several senior roles in the Australian electricity sector since the beginning of the electricity market with Babcock & Brown, Flinders Power and Trustpower particularly in energy trading, portfolio structuring and renewable energy development roles.

His influence at SA Water has seen it move from a traditional electricity retail contracting to one of the more sophisticated electricity consumers in the country, most recently initiating SA Water’s Zero Cost Energy Future program and framing the electricity portfolio to guide that investment program. His team is responsible for SA Water’s energy portfolio including energy consumption and generation optimisation, wholesale market energy trading and energy portfolio planning and risk management.

Ashley has a degree in Mechanical Engineering an MBA and Grad Dip. in Applied Finance.


Event Details

Wednesday 30 September 2020

5.30pm - 6.45pm AEST


Online Webinar


EESA member: $0
Non-members: $30


The Tasmanian Chapter of the Electric Energy Society of Australia

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Maximum CPD Hours